Saturday, March 16, 2013

Like Eating Out? Be Careful Where You Dine

This is a little different spin on saving money.  It's preventative savings of both time and expense at the hospital as a result of food poisoning, or other illness from a bad restaurant experience. I like eating out just like many Americans, but lately, I have taken notice a bit to more where I am eating, and I don't like what I am seeing.  Blame the Food Network show "Restaurant Impossible," but hear me out.

Last night, I had planned to dine at a mid-scale local chain pizza/italian place in D.C.  The line was really bad, so we were handed one of those pager things, like you see here to the left.  I have no grief with these, as they are really handy when you don't want to crowd the host/hostess area and wait like a dog begging for scraps.  But, after we got our "beeper," I wondered, How often do they clean these?  Ever?  Sometimes?  I thought, there has got to have been thousands of people who have handled these things.  My advice, after handling one, got to the restroom and scrub up.

What's more, and I have actually busted several restaurant employees for doing this, is that it seems to becoming a more frequent occurrence where employees will text away at their smartphone when things are slow.  Hmm, I wonder.  Do they ever wash their phones, or clean their hands after using them?  Don't get me started on obsessive texting, etc. in public (think drivers, for one), but this has got to be another potential health hazard.  And, if you see employees texting on the job, or even in the bathroom, which I have, don't be afraid to tell the management.  Trust me, they don't want anyone getting sick and suing the place.  They will take immediate action to correct the problem.

While I am not aware of a comprehensive directory of dirty restaurants, there is one site called Dining Grades that allows users to rate cleanliness of restaurants   Do yourself a favor and see if there's a report on where you might be eating tonight.  Yelp, of course, is another option.  If more than a few reviews mention cleanliness as being an issue, I'd skip it and save yourself some grief.