The dirty truth about restaurants!

United States
June 19, 2007 3:00pm CST
After watching Hell's Kitchen episode last night, I've sworn off eating in restaurants forever! Imagine the nerve of that woman for taking a handful of pasta out of the trash and then trying to serve it to a customer. She claimed that if you boil it, then it's sanitary. But, good grief! Who would do something like that. Then I started thinking of all the things I've heard about restaurants over the years. Like the fact, that they take the half used butter left on tables at the end of meals and melt it all down, strain out cigarettes and dust and reuse it in Christmas dishes. One famous tell-all book by two former waiters claims that nothing goes to waste in a restaurant kitchen. And, I'm always hearing about fast food shops that get closed down due to having mold in their drink machines. And, what about that Jack in the Box hamburger place that gave so many people e-coli? Do you remember that? Or, that incident with Wolfgang Puck's catering service and the hepatitus scare? How many innocent people were affected by that, simply because someone forgot to wash their hands or wear gloves before serving food. And, on more than one occasion in a hamburger shop, I've seen employees leave the bathroom without washing their hands. On my worst day, my kitchen has never made anyone sick. So, I'm wondering, is this pasta garbage thing normal practice in restaurant kitchens? How safe are we when we take our kids out to restaurants to eat? Are restaurants hiding the truth from us?
10 people like this
24 responses
@sj_chaudhry (1537)
• Canada
19 Jun 07
ohh gosh i also used to see Hell's kitchen it is almost like seeing night mare... it is nasty... me either will never eat in restaurants ever again...atleast will search before dine any where...
2 people like this
@Nykkee (2523)
• Canada
19 Jun 07
That crap is all true. I've never worked at a real resturant but I've worked alot of fast food jobs and let me tell you, if you order in a drive through be very careful what you say to the people serving you and within ear shot of the speaker becausepeople being treated badly by emplyers and barely making enough money to get by, will do horrible things to your food if you insult them somehow, cause they are already p!ssed off. I have seen a girl drop a burger patty, step on it intentionally and then pick it up and put it in a burger and serve it because sheheard s drunk guy calling her a b!tch to his friends within ear shot of the speaker, after ordering.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jun 07
Oh, that's gross! Thanks for sharing, though. I've been trying to get my husband to stop eating fast food for years. But, he just won't listen. And now I have the proof that it's bad for him! Thanks!
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (50147)
• United States
19 Jun 07
I'm always afraid someone will spit in my drink. You will never catch me being rude to any food server, whether in a drive thru or a four star restaurant.
@cynddvs (2950)
• United States
19 Jun 07
I worked as a server for 4 years. I will say that I did see some things I was uneasy with but for the most part I worked in a pretty clean restaurant. The soda, tea, and coffee machines were cleaned nightly. And the kitchen was kept really clean. The one thing that keeps my mind at ease is that restaurants are always subject to random health inspections. And the ratings of these health inspections are required by law to be posted in the restaurant where customers can see them. I will never eat at a restaurant that has gotten low ratings.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jun 07
I used to work at McDonalds and I was actually really suprised at how clean it was. We always had to wash our hands before the start of any shift, and after our break. I usually worked on window, which is the cashier position. I was never allowed to touch food, unless I had washed my hands first. There was also a strict cleaning regimine that was completed every hour by someone in the restaurant. At the end of every night, the cleaning crew would scrub down all of the machines. When food was dropped on the floor, it was immediately thrown out. Food that had been dropped was never one served to any customer. Even when food was not of high quality, it had to be thrown out. Food sitting under the heat lamp for more than 3 minutes had to be thrown out, to ensure the freshness of everything. I do not think that you really have to worry about the cleanliness of most restaurant kitchens, because they have to undergo checks by city officials. Plus if a restaurant has a dirty kitchen and someone finds out, they are ruined as a restaurant and will have a very hard time surviving. There is simply too much on the line for a restaurant to have a dirty kitchen. But in every case there are some exceptions. But you can usually tell which restaurants you should avoid before eating at them. Happy dining.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (50147)
• United States
19 Jun 07
I knew restaurants were deceptive, but having you remind me makes me want to cook from home all the time. However, I'm too tired to do it all the time! LOL, but my local news station (one of them) have a thing on their news site called Diner's Digest. They used to do an expose every week on a restaurant that was running, but had just been hit with a lot of fines for violations. Now they just have it up on their site where you can type in your zip code, select the local restaurant you want, and you see all the violations they have had from the health department over the course of their existence. It also lists complaints and if anyone has ever reported health scares like food poisoning or hepatitis.
• United States
20 Jun 07
can you give me the same of that site
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (50147)
• United States
20 Jun 07
It is a local news channel's site and only good for restaurants in Oklahoma, but if you want it I'll go see if I can get the exact address.
• United States
20 Jun 07
When I worked a McDonalds a lady I worked with dropped bread on the floor and picked it up and made the customers sandwich with it because the customer had an attitude and when I worked at KFC and I threw the chicken away at the end of the night after I counted it but the manager told me I wasn't supposed to that and that they re used the chicken to make meat pies or something like that. She told be to get the chicken out the garbage because I had thrown it in an empty trash bag and take the meat off so that can use it tomorow. I refused to use food out the garbage so I got in trouble.
• United States
20 Jun 07
and she was the store manager that told me to do this
• Bulgaria
20 Jun 07
To make you calm down I'm telling you that I as a waitress who have been working in different places, there's not even one thing in your post that I should agree with. My collegues would never do anything like it nor would the cooks! Restaurants aren't hidding anything - if you mind how your meal is prepared why don't you do it on your own to see if it would be easy?Plus you can always check your food. If you find anything doubtfull just return it to the waiter - noone says you have to eat it if you don't want it. I suggest you think about it again and I'm sure you'll even find a lot of people who will agree with me (of course if they know what's it like in a restaurant not from the client's view).
• Canada
20 Jun 07
I have to admit I go to a resturant less often the past couple of years. It is directly due to the stories I see and hear on the tv. Did you see the one show that had hidden cameras in many of the resturants. One guy had really like hair that some how got into the soup pot. The guy acturally rung out his hair over the pot of soup. Gag! In another one someone returned the steak dinner so the cook gave him a different one but spit on it before it went back to the table! I shiver thinking of that. No I don't go to resturants as much as I use to and I have to feel okay about it if I do. Just because I feel okay about it doesn't mean it won't happen but it is better then not trusting the resturant right of the bat. I can't enjoy my meal at all if that is the case.
@devilsangel (1817)
• United States
20 Jun 07
Well queen I hate to be the one to say it but many of those stories are true. Just about all the scary stories you've heard about fast food places are true. I worked in fast food for almost 3 yrs and in that time I can honestly say it was the nastiest experince of my life. I saw people scratch their butts or pick their noses then turn around and handle someone's food. I know for a fact what happens to the left over chicken at KFC... it is turned into the BBQ chicken mix that they use for the sandwiches. Gross huh. Most of the food they cook has a stage time that just keeps getting reset if it doesn't sell right away. When I worked at a Jack in the box the stuff I saw there made me never eat at another Jack in the box. I've seen them take a burger and run it through the greese trap and then serve it to a customer. I've watched people tie their shoes then go back to fixing food. I've even watch someone sneeze on someone eles's food then serve it. Oh and just cause they wear gloves doesn't mean its safe either. You are suppose to change your gloves each time you touch something differnt. So if you're working with just fried stuff then thats fine but the moment you handle raw meet you're suppose to change gloves. Or the moment you touch your clothes or the counter or anything outside of one specific food item. They don't. The reason you're suppose to change your gloves is to prevent cross contamination. This is how people get sick. Sadly it doesn't happen like it should.
@wavelander (1530)
• Portugal
20 Jun 07
I love to eat in restaurants! I try not to see those things!
@kgwat70 (13396)
• United States
20 Jun 07
I am sure all the things that you have mentioned occur more than we know about. It probably happens in a lot of restaurants, whether fast food or nicer restaurants. Everyone seems to be trying to find ways to save money and will do whatever it takes. It is disgusting to take pasta from the trash and reserve it. I do not care if boiling helps it or not. How about the Taco Bell/KFC in NY that had that rat problem because of not cleaning the restaurant at the end of the day? I remember that being all over the news.
@steney (1418)
• Philippines
20 Jun 07
We can never be too sure what happens inside a restaurant. We could only hope and pray that we are eating hygienically prepared food that will not make us sick. We cannot really rely on the health and sanitation permits that restaurants carry. They can always prepare ahead of time when there is an inspection. Unless somebody reports them or gets hard evidence of malpractice, they'd be off the hook and free to do what they do. Most of the time it's the people/staff who do these things so I think it's important for restaurant owners to hire people who are qualified and psychologically capable of doing what they have to do professionally.
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
20 Jun 07
i work in a restaurant before but i never witness the kitchen people serve something from the trash... that is really really gross... i can't imagine how that kind of restaurant can survive as i know that restaurant is always subjected to random health inspection and will be closed down eventually if they don't comply with the food health regulations... anyway, i agree with you... it is much more hygienic to prepare our own food from home rather than eating outside... that's why i seldom eat outside... i prefer to eat at home and enjoy my own cooking...
20 Jun 07
1 time i visited a friends who's working in a resto. then saw his face with a bad attitude,i ask him why,then told me that the table he was serving is a bunch of drunk guy who insulted him,he cant fight back because customers always right...he fights back with their food,he spits on the soup.....yuck,so you better be good to the waiters!!!
@kumar27 (129)
• India
20 Jun 07
it is business.restaurateur will never allow to enter their kitchen coz u can find flies are hovering over the huge utensils,spider webs are the hanging from roof top, hapless fly get stuck to those webs and die and fall of some huge cauldron full of chicken etc. the cook carefully fish out the fly and that delicious soup is served to u.sometime even lizard falls on cooked items and getting fished out by stewards or chefs .ugh.. we hardly know the off side of kitchen of a restaurant
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
20 Jun 07
Eep. I don't watch this show, but now that I think about it, it is kind of gross. On the other hand, my cousin works in a restaurant, and he eats most of his meals there, as well as serving food to his mother and my mother. He wouldn't let them eat anything gross, so it must be okay.
@smints8985 (1595)
• United States
20 Jun 07
Yeah truth is eating at restaurants is like eating at your own risk, cause you really cannot be sure on how sanitary it was prepared. You never know if they've recycled stuff that they put in there, or if they picked up something that dropped on the floor and put it back, there's a lot that could happen. And whoever handles the food that we eat are the ones that truly know how yucky it is.. So let us then eat at our own risks, eating outside of our home will always be a risk that I guess all of us are willing to take.
• Canada
20 Jun 07
I have never watched this show before but it is true that we can't see what is going on in the kitchen in most restraunts and know the first time I worked in a fast food restaurant in our area when I was a child , I was stunned at some of the things they did and yet still served the food to customers saying they would never know the difference and that they couldn't afford to waste the money on throwing things away . There was one time my boss dropped a burger on the floor ( which was really dirty ) , picked it up and told me to wash the burger off , she dried it and then made the burger up and sent it out to the guy who had ordered it . The food had been on the floor , then washed , then dried with paper towel and served . I was sick at the thought that someone was going to eat this but was not allowed to say anything as this was my job and I needed the money . All the while she would say that it was fine as it was washed but it got me to wondering what kind of stunts were pulled in other restaurants to save on the cost of waste and it did make me sick to think that we never know what is happening .
@chileman (969)
• Australia
20 Jun 07
Do you buy food from supermarkets, butchers, bakerys or anywhere else, or do you make your own bread, grow your own vegetables and fruit and slaughter your own meat. The reason I ask is it's not just restaurants that have stories like this, it happens everywhere!
• China
20 Jun 07
I believe that keeping clean is the commitment of a restaurant. And if they try to hide them, it is of no use. Because if it is not clean, people will ill and will not go to dine. They will not able to make a living. And what they did can not be kept as a secret forever. Anyone saw it would expose it to all. It will cause a domino effect afterwards.