Originally Posted by houghtam
I've been in food service for just about forever, and the only thing you're correct about here is that most health departments are run at the county level.
However, the assumption that "most restaurants" know it's a sound business to keep clean is just plain wrong on many levels. It is cost prohibitive to follow all of the regulations put on the industry, so "most restaurants" actually do the absolute minimum to stay open. Many develop relationships with their individual inspectors so that they can skate by on certain things, and find workarounds for existing issues, rather than actually fixing them.
The industry is rife with corruption, as well. In Cincinnati, I worked at a stadium that was infested with rats, and knew we would not pass inspection, despite my best efforts...the health inspector came in, spent an hour in the GM's office, and left. I never saw him, just that he drove away in a Jaguar. That was a big part of the reason I left that job.
In the south, people claim all the time that their restaurants are cleaner because they are legally required to post their health inspection results at the front door and drive-thrus. I don't know about the rest of the south, but I know for a fact that in Cobb County, GA, Jefferson County, AL, and East Baton Rouge Parish, LA this isn't the case.
In each of those counties, the BOH has developed a "minimum score" you can still receive and remain open. It is 88 out of 100. What they've done then is instruct the health inspectors that unless you see something completely outrageous, give them at least an 88 so they can stay open, because the county loses tax income if they shut down restaurants. Additionally, it needs to be 88, because they conducted a study that determined 88 is the lowest score they can have without the public losing faith in the system. In two of those counties, I had the BOH representative tell me that, because we were a movie theater and only selling popcorn, the worst we could get was a 96, so "there was no need to worry" about him coming in there...regardless of the fact that we sold hot dogs, chicken tenders, pizza, etc.
So no, your assumptions that "most restaurants" attempt to keep their buildings clean because it's just good for business is completely false.
So now you can start in with the "SEE? THERE'S TOO MUCH REGULATION ON BUSINESS!!" talk.
Originally Posted by lonestar View Post
Most sanitary rules laws are of a local nature enforced by local inspectors mostly union in larger cities so Unlikely they will be passed unless there is a consideration made.
Most restaurants that have been in business for awhile KNOW that it is a sound business practice to run a clean shop. It usually means you are not killing your customers.
But I suspect that just escapes the liberal mind.
I know lot of restaurant owners, even here in less than clean El Paso.. I used to want to be a chef but gave that up after a stint of being a Chefs apprentice coming out of school..
The good ones will invite folks back into their kitchens and while some are not where you can eat off the floors, their prep areas and Reefers are damned clean..
the good clean ones stay in business, the others that do not are not in business.. I have about 4 places I frequent and see loads of loyal clients back in them all the time..
As I said somewhere there is about an 80% failure rate in new start ups, unless you are a chain and most of them have their own inspectors come in to protect the brand name..
I have looked into going into the business when I first retired so have a middling interest in them..
Thanks for you info but do not see any of my thoughts reputed, on what I have seen in the industry....
BTW there was a great piece on just this 20/20 the day before yesterday..
you are correct about a lot of dirty places, where food is not stored correctly, dirty and greasy and even lots of things on or near your table are less than clean..
The one thing they suggested you do is immediately go into the bathrooms and see how clean they are.. IF they are not then walk out because anyplace that does not maintain their bathrooms is not cleaning the kitchen either..
One other thing they said was do not let the menus touch your table, do not touch your face after ordering, once you have ordered go to the bathroom and wash your hands before eating.. Keep sani-wipes available to wipe down the salt and pepper and condiment holders..
Some of the tests they ran on the various items had loads of bacteria as well as viruses on them.. up to and including ecoli..
Nicer places are better to eat at as the clientele ted to be cleaner..
Never ever eat on airplanes if it does not come out of a sealed bag..