These chefs are doing their part to keep restaurant-goers safe when they venture out to grab a bite to eat. 

Buzzfeed this week compiled a list of 'red flags' from Reddit users who claimed to be chefs with expertise in the area of food safety. 

The restaurant employees were asked to list warning signs that customers should watch out for when going out to eat.

The list covered factors like sanitation, food quality, and relationships between staff members.

Anyone who is looking to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant should look for these 10 red flags before ordering food. 

'If you notice your feet sticking to the floor, turn around and leave immediately'

Sticky floors could be a sign that a restaurant is not cleaning frequently enough.

Spilled food and beverages on a floor will result in it becoming sticky if not properly cleaned.

'Number one evaluation effect for me is smell. If it’s a sour smell or disinfectant smell — red flag'

Guests who walk into a restaurant and expect to smell good food may get more than they bargained for if they catch a whiff of a rotten odor.

Various factors can cause a sour or disinfectant smell, such as spoiled food or improper cleaning.

Other chefs have backed up this red flag, and one person gave advice on what to do when going out for seafood.

'I always say, if you enter a seafood shop or restaurant, it should smell like the ocean,' a Reddit user wrote in a 2019 post.

'If it smells like fresh air and saltwater, that means everything is fresh. If it smells like fish, it starts to become bad, and if it starts, it is going to be bad very fast.'

Another reason behind an eatery's awful smell can also be the result of issues with restaurant drains, according to Zoom Drain

'A huge menu is a sign that food is either frozen, precooked, and reheated — or ingredients are not very fresh'

Another Reddit user that claimed to be a chef wrote that users should watch out for restaurants with 'a huge menu' because they 'serve nothing but frozen food.'

Fast food restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Wendy's cook menu items like burgers and chicken nuggets that were delivered to the eateries frozen.

Precooked foods can pose some health risks, and when cooked or stored improperly, guests can experience food poisoning or any other kind of foodborne illness.   

'When there are pictures of food on the menu that clearly aren't from the restaurant'

More than one Reddit user who claimed to be a chef wrote that it is a huge red flag if a restaurant using food photos that did not originate at their restaurant.

'I designed a menu for a restaurant and left spaces for the pictures. They said they wouldn't send any and told me to take pictures from Google,' a Reddit user wrote. 

'I have never eaten there. I would like to add I had no idea what some of these dishes were. My favorite was "house special," but they didn't know what that would be. I was told to "add something nice."'

'Seeing fruit flies. Fruit flies are an indication of a dirty kitchen'

Fruit flies in a restaurant kitchen can be attracted to things such as dirty dishes, rotten fruit, or a moldy sponge.

The little insects attracted to dirt and moisture can transfer germs from a dirty surface onto a clean one, according to WebMD.

Although they don't bite humans, they may carry salmonella, E.coli, and listeria - three germs that can cause food poisoning or put someone in the hospital.

Fruit flies in restaurant kitchens have been taken more seriously over the last few years, and in September 2022, they were even listed as a critical violation at an Ontario Dave & Buster's.

'Stay away from buffets and salad bars. A lot of the time it is the same stuff that just gets refilled over and over. Super gross'

Buffet tables and salad bars at a restaurant could be harmful if food is not switched out and containers and utensils are not cleaned properly.

Like fruit flies, buffet tables and salad bars could have various bacterial germs that can be harmful to restaurant guests.

'You can get just about anything that can be transmitted by oral secretions,' Allison Agwu, professor of pediatric and adult infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told Vice in 2018.

'The major bacteria players when it comes to unsanitary food buffet stations can be E. coli, salmonella or more common in deli meats, listeria.' 

A Reddit user claimed that it is 'not reasonably possible to run a sanitary buffet business,' which could be true if guidelines are not met.

The FDA revealed tips on how to properly take care of a buffet table in a restaurant or at home in a blog post last March and it includes tips on temperature and freshness.

Officials wrote that hot foods must be kept at an internal temperature of 140 degrees or warmer and that individuals should use a food thermometer to double check.

They also noted that bacteria from someone's hands can also spread bacteria, which can multiple when food is at room temperature.   

'In culinary school, every single chef instructor says the same thing: If it's misspelled on the menu, that's on purpose. It's so they don't have to sell you the real thing. A prime example is 'krab cakes'

While it's unclear if this is the case for every restaurant, this chef is calling the practice a red flag.

A survey cited by Psychology Today in 2016 even concluded that misspellings in menus don't usually affect one's dining experience.

However, a Reddit user wrote in 2015 that they believe a restaurant with spelling errors on its menu is 'careless' and they assume it has 'bad food.'

'When the menus are super dirty and never cleaned, that means everything is super dirty and never cleaned'

Most restaurants do focus on cleanliness and keeping employees and customers safe from illness.

In many restaurants, employees are required wipe down menus before or after closing.

According to a 2013 report, physical menus can 'serve as vehicles for pathogens.'

Other germs that can be passed on from unwashed menus include staph bacteria and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which are difficult to treat.

'Watch the wait staff. If the majority of them seem disgruntled or upset, things probably aren't great. They probably don't care about your food if they aren't being treated fairly'

Several Reddit users warned guests to keep an eye on staff interactions.

'A huge red flag would b seeing a manager or owner berate or verbally abuse an employee in public,' a Reddit user wrote one of the 2021 posts

The thinking behind this red flag is that employees who are disgruntled tend to not care as much about their job and won't go the extra mile to ensure that food safety measures are followed. 

Read more

2024-06-18T19:48:03Z dg43tfdfdgfd