PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Florida does not post letter grades or scores on restaurant doors to let you know how clean their kitchen is. Restaurants are required to share their inspection report with you. But a recent Dirty Dining hidden camera investigation found that not all restaurants willingly disclose those inspection reports.
So, we teamed up with a former restaurant inspector who shared his top five secrets for what you can do to be your own restaurant inspector.
1) Check the back door
If the back door is open, it could open your eyes to what’s happening inside. It’s the first place Stephen Schultz checked in his 24 years as a sanitation inspector in South Florida. He says the dumpsters and trash bins should be covered and the area should be clean.
“If they’re not, it’s a good indication that the inside of the restaurant is going to look like that too,” Schultz said.
2) Pay attention to the menus and the greeter
If the menus are clean and not caked in food or bathed in grease, that’s a good sign. Also, the greeter should be attentive and well-dressed.
3) Head to the restroom
Schultz says the condition of the restroom is an important indicator.
“A restaurant that keeps a good restroom will keep a good kitchen,” Schultz said.
4) Glance toward the kitchen.
Don’t expect the kitchen to be perfectly clean if it’s dinner time. But cooks who wear gloves and hats should make you feel more comfortable about the food you’re about to eat.
5) Watch how workers handle silverware
If workers are grabbing silverware by the part you put in your mouth, that should raise a red flag. If the silverware is wrapped, it can make you feel more comfortable.
Schultz says it’s the little things that can add up when it comes to dining.