Do you know what happens `behind the scenes’ in a restaurant? There are a lot of goof-ups, errors, hidden secrets and other short-cuts that are a part and parcel of any restaurant everyday working. As you sit and wait for the ordered food to appear, there is a whole lot of happenings and mishaps that rule the roost in the restaurant kitchen. Some are dirty, a few funny and many others test the strength of even the strongest and experienced chefs. The waiters are not left behind in the milieu. A restaurant business keeps everyone on their toes – from the boss to the janitor. Each and every cast and kitchen crew, have a blast of a day (literally) and breathe in a long sigh of relief at the end of their working hours.

Here are some hidden stories that offer inside info on restaurants and what they tend to hide from customers. A few leaks out invariably. Read on to get to know what secrets do these restaurant hold behind their backs. Some will make you laugh; a few will make say `Whew…’ and many will make you squirm in your seats. Will you visit another restaurant in your lifetime again after reading the following restaurant facts? Shhh…

Restaurant Secrets

Most out of sight hush-hush details take place only in restaurants. Before a meal can reach your table there is a lot going on in the kitchen. Here are some facts you may never know existed that are sure to blow your mind away.

  1. As you are waiting for your food and toying with the salt and pepper dispensers sitting on your table-top…think twice. There are a whole lot of unseen germs lurking on the outside and inside. They are rarely cleaned and contain age old produce. Always, just a wet cloth is used to make the dispenser sparkling new on the outer surface. What about the inside? The dampness attracts flies and before you know, they are laying tiny eggs all over and on the rim of the container.

Tip: Never add salt out of an open bowl in a restaurant.

  1. You have ordered a glass of fresh juice from an eat-out to accompany your food. A very healthy choice indeed as you have replaced the aerated drinks. Is it so? There are numerous bacteria sneaking their way to your tummy…even the dreaded E.Coli among them all. How? We do not know how well the glasses are washed. Even when thoroughly rinsed, the cloth that is used to wipe the glass contains tons of germs. So, it is just passed on from one surface to another.

Tip: Drink with the help of a disposable straw. It may lessen the germs intake.

  1. The green, crunchy and fresh iceberg lettuce leaves are the worst carriers of diseases. Not because of its composition but in the way they are washed and served. Even your burgers have a layer of these so-called healthy additions. None bother to clean these salad leaves inside out. It’s mostly the exterior that is cleansed leaving the porous inside brimming with unhealthy micro-organisms. And it is kept out in the open for long…

Tip: Skip these leaves as they have the least amount of nutrition. They are popularly known as the only greens with `empty calories’.

  1. Everyone loves a slice of pizza. There is however, a terrible secret that is kept under wraps. The pizza ingredients contain the carcinogenic MSG (monosodium glutamate) presented to you in a hidden avatar, namely as free glutamic acid. This processed flavor enhancer has the same properties and taste as an MSG. So, in fact you are loading your body unknowingly. If you are thinking that it is only a `once in a while’ indulgence, you are completely duped. As one time or more, this unhealthy stuff is stored in your body and triggers major illnesses.

Tip: Why not leave out the junk item from your list of must-have food.

  1. Fast food in this rush-rush world is a boon for the ever-moving masses. Think again! I don’t mean to say that fast-food as such, is bad and unhealthy…but its surroundings and equipments, and…Wait! What more can you expect of these restaurants. Everything is very fast here from the cleaning to the service. So, give room for some error, please! Keep in mind that the worst germs are not present in the washrooms of these restaurants but in the ice-chutes and soda fountains. The nozzle is the criminal. It is hardly cleaned. The result is that you have your beverages with infectious microbes in them.

Tip: Order a sealed bottle than to buy from a soda machine. Pass up on ice-cubes.

  1. Increasingly people are not starting their meal with a raw salad Reason? The awareness that all things raw are not a healthy option. You don’t know where the produce is from, how well it is washed and whether the veggies are layered with pesticides. It is a proven fact that the previous day’s unsold salads are prepped up and freshened up for the next day’s meal, especially buffet left-overs (meat, fruits and vegetables). As they sit out for long, these salad mixtures are the breeding ground for disease-causing germs. Healthy smoothies contain raw stuff added to up the benefits. But how can you be sure of what happens in the background?

Tip: Make your own smoothie. Do not order a plate of raw salad in a restaurant but opt for cooked food.

  1. It is a misnomer that gluten-free (read gluten intolerant) and vegan diets are the best health bets. You are mistaken! When ordered the wrong way they contain loads of calories and all of that `empty’. If you are any of the above but still walk into a steakhouse. What do you expect? That you will get a totally vegetarian salad or meal, even if you order for one. No way! Drops of animal fat may accidently peep into your plate or some grease that has passed on from the serving waiter to your food. It happens all the time.

Tip: Use your mind and visit restaurants that cater to select clientele preferences, like yours. Not only you will get the best food but will have more to choose from.

  1. Did you know that you might be having a glass of tap water when you have actually been billed for the mineral variety? A sweet-talking waiter might just pass on a food in the menu waiting to be rid off immediately, as the best pick of the day? If you are planning to go with the trend nowadays and snack on pizzas or burgers in a Michelin star restaurant, in order to have your fill for less cost. You are mistaken! These places surprisingly tag their snacks at inflated prices. The same goes for vegetarian dishes too, as they are priced at phenomenally high rates. Restaurants love these orders as they can mint money out of you.

Tip: Order according to the restaurant specialty as you may get food for your moneys’ worth.

  1. Always check your bill There has been an instance when in a popular pizza outlet I was given a bill that was actually lesser than the order amount. I should have been happy? But when cross-checking the details it was brought to notice that the higher priced bill was accidentally passed on to another patron. So, they said “It is okay, you are getting to pay less for more.” But what if I had been the other party ‘paying more for less’? Due to error or knowingly, some restaurants do blotch up on bills.

Tip: Always check your restaurant bill before paying.

  1. Never be the last to order in a restaurant. Not only you may have to eat your meal in a hurry before the last call but you will get only a standard food fare. Last minute orders are likely to receive food with left-over tidbits, oozing fat and haphazardly prepared fare. This is the time of the day when the kitchen is winding up too! So, your food is cooked alongside the cleaning work that happens. Do you want to hear more?

Tip: Always be sure to be seated way ahead of a restaurant closing time. You are sure to be served the best food of the day.

How many of us check the kitchen and cooking areas including stoves in a restaurant. It is the health inspector’s job isn’t? Many do not allow customers, as a sign boldly proclaims hidden facts as, `For Staff Only’.

Shocking but true! From rat droppings to creepy cockroaches, there are many eat-outs that are actually off limits to the public but are still favored by customers. Does it mean that eating out is a bad thing to do? No, not at all!

Use your discretion. If you have been to a restaurant and caught a stomach bug, then common sense says, `do not visit that particular eating place ever again’. But how many of us listen to our bodily warnings? The online is flooded with restaurant reviews and eat-out listings with customer feedback of what is best for you. Learn to separate the good from the bad. Eat-out the germ free way!

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