5 Ways to Spot an Unsanitary Restaurant — Health Inspectors

by in Shows, October 26th, 2012

restaurant table
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors in a restaurant? Starting tonight, Ben Vaughn will scour restaurants and cafes to find out if they come up to par with today’s health standards in Food Network’s newest show, Health Inspectors. Traveling from Louisiana to states in the Midwest, Ben examines and exposes the infractions of establishments and then teaches the owners, managers and staff the tools and procedures to follow in order to stay in business. Will these struggling establishments survive? Their success will depend on how well they follow the advice of our chef, restaurateur and consultant, Ben Vaughn.

Can you spot an unsanitary restaurant? We chatted with Ben and asked him for five tips that customers should be on the lookout for:

1. Restrooms: Check out the restrooms first. Are they clean? Check the floors. Are paper towels readily available and is the soap dispenser full?

2. Menus: Many restaurants use clear covers on their dining menus because they’re easy to clean, but are they actually cleaning them? Check for fingerprints — and note whether the menu feels sticky.

3. Floors: Does it look like the staff mops regularly and with a clean solution? Some restaurants just sweep and sometimes I find that debris has been pushed into the corner.

4. Staff uniforms: Has the staff taken the time to clean themselves and wear pressed shirts and clean aprons? Take a special look at their shoes. Are they clean? Debris always falls on the ground in a restaurant; I would frequently wash my shoes.

5. Use your senses: Smell and look around. Uninviting smells like old grease or mildew are bad signs. Customers should be able to visually see everything unless they’re at a romantic restaurant that has dim lighting. If the restaurant is poorly lit otherwise, chances are management is covering something up they don’t want you to see.

Tune in to the series premiere of Health Inspectors: 10:30pm ET/PT.

(Contributions by Kristina Mellegard)

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Comments (9)

  1. Real Inspector says:

    Your show is completely unrealistic! As a health inspector, I can say that what you show is not what actually happens during a real inspection. We actually use a thermometer to take food temperatures, wash our hands so we would recognize no hot water at the start of the inspection and NEVER EVER would the inspector touch food with their bare hands during an inspection. Get it correct or don't show it at all!

  2. Ejbreeze says:

    This show is so staged and unbelievable. Come on Foodtv, do you think we are stupid?

  3. I actually'deborah need to seek advice from a person in this article. Which can be never a little something It's my job to do! I spend time looking through any submit that will get people to feel. Likewise, thank you allowing for my family to help comment!

  4. Guest says:

    This show (Health Inspectors) is so repetitive and boring. Every other sentence I hear "Critical violation." Sure, it's important to keep a restaurant clean and safe, but what is the point of this show? It goes to different restaurants saying the exact same thing over and over again. What a waste.

  5. John Dixon says:

    Never seen the show, but as a food inspector, the bathroom is the easiest and most revealing spot to check. Walk in the front door, go straight to the can and if you wouldn't eat your meal in there, walk right back out again. Also, most places wipe the table down after each patron leaves, so check less obvious surfaces for dirt and crud: Walls, windows, benches, plants etc. and have a good look overhead for accumulated dust. If you can see in the kitchen give it and the staff a once over. Hair coverings are a good sign, and clean floors. Watch the server handle money. If he doesn't wash his hands immediately after touching something that's not food, he's not doing his job.

  6. reviews says:

    Does it look like the staff mops regularly and with a clean solution? Some restaurants just sweep and sometimes I find that debris has been pushed into the corner.

  7. Does it look like the staff mops regularly and with a clean solution? Some restaurants just sweep and sometimes I find that debris has been pushed into the corner

  8. Smell and look around. Uninviting smells like old grease or mildew are bad signs. Customers should be able to visually see everything unless they’re at a romantic restaurant that has dim lighting. If the restaurant is poorly lit otherwise, chances are management is covering something up they don’t want you to see.

  9. kholli says:

    Using the same gloves to handle EVERYTHING doesn't seem to be something the inspectors look for. I see restaurant employees all the time wearing gloves but never changing as they handle food, money, touch the faces, clean, take out trash, etc. They don't get the point of gloves. Also, is there any inspection of chef activity? All you have to do is watch Food Network to see Giada de Laurentis and nearly all the others eating off their cooking utensils and reusing them. That is disgusting and a health risk.

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