By Jim Otte
Story ID: 2125692
RELATED: Is the food safe to eat at your favorite restaurant?
Take a long look at the restaurant from the curb. Frank Liebold, Certified Executive Chef at Sinclair Community College advises consumers to see if the property is well kept and up to date.
Scan the eating area for potential problems. "When you walk in, are the carpets and floors clean?" Liebold said.
Look critically at the restaurant staff. Liebold said the person serving your food should look professional. He said a professional appearance at the front of the restaurant usually means a professional operation in the back.
Check the restroom. If it's clean in there, the same person is cleaning up elsewhere, said Liebold.
Make sure hot foods are being served hot and cold foods are served cold. Temperature control is a major concern, said Liebold.
Take another look at your server or anyone who prepares your food. Derek Allen, Chairperson of Sinclair Hospitality and Culinary Science Arts, said no one should have fingernail polish (it hides dirt). Nails should be short and clean.
Buffet lines are a problem area if rules are not followed. Allen said new plates must be used for each trip to the buffet. This reduces the chance of cross contamination of food. If the staff does not enforce that rule, it can lead to contamination and illness.
Watch the hands of the people handling your food. Allen said if they are pushing their hair back and then touching plates with their hands, that can be a problem.
Look for gloves on the people handling "ready to eat" foods. Allen said gloves are worn to protect the staff, the food and the patrons from cross contamination.
Be sure the person handling the money does not handle your food, as money carries germs. Allen said if a person is wearing gloves in the kitchen and then handles money, they must remove their gloves and wash their hands before returning to the kitchen.