When health is at stake

When health is at stake

One may have had many memorable dining experiences but an unpleasant one is something that stays with them for a much longer time. And sometimes, the experience is downright disgusting.

Take for instance, the case of a woman who discovered a dead lizard in her French fries at a fast food outlet in Kolkata. Or the boy who was slapped by a female employee at a coffee shop in Jaipur for making a video of a cockroach crawling in the store refrigerator. These incidents bring to light the pathetic operating conditions prevalent at many known restaurants and fast food and coffee chains and more importantly, the apathy shown by the staff when a complaint is placed.

Bengalureans too have had their share of nasty experiences and feel that basic hygiene and cleanliness must come above anything else, especially in the food and beverage industry.

Subu Shivlingam, an intern at a hospital, narrates his horrific tale of dining at a ‘biryani’ joint in Indiranagar. “I was always a big fan of their ‘biryani’. However, my last visit turned out to be a horrid experience as I discovered a big fat worm in my food. I checked and rechecked to see if it was a chicken tissue that I was mistaking for a worm but it became very clear that it was a crawler sheltering in the serving. They have lost a loyal customer now,” says Subu.

Vinu Thomas, a technical architect, had a less horrifying, but clearly bad time with his family, at a known coffee chain outlet at Orion Mall a week back. “We noticed that there were quite a few empty tables but none of them were clean. However, when we placed our order and asked for one of the tables to be cleaned, the waiter simply knocked off the cookie crumbs on the floor rather than collecting them on a dustpan and left them there. We gave them a stare but they didn’t seem to care,” says Vinu.

“Even the coffee served was different from the one we ordered and they simply said they didn’t have the required ingredients for that. I placed a complaint on their app and the case was assigned to the outlet manager who was supposed to call me within 24 hours but I haven’t received any response yet,” he adds. Vinu feels that the restaurant staff should be more concerned about basic waste management and hygiene than customers as it is their reputation which is at stake.

Guru Murthy Arumugam, a professional, narrates a similar experience at a restaurant on Sarjapur Road. “The staff for the buffet did not hesitate to use their hands and fingers while serving without wearing gloves. I also saw a server sneezing near the food,” he says. “To improve hygiene, the servers and cooks must be taught how and why they need to use gloves. There should be strict monitoring of the hygiene practices. Hats must also be worn to prevent hair from falling into the food,” he suggests.

Joe, a photographer, visited an Indian restaurant chain in JP Nagar a month back and was startled to see a rat running on the floor near the washroom. “Seriously, that was our last visit there. Something like this is just not acceptable in a restaurant. In fact, we don’t know what’s happening inside the kitchen which is not accessible to us.”

Besides suggesting that sewage points should be blocked to avoid such situations, he feels that the public can take responsibility in their own way. “A public community, volunteers or food bloggers can help by visiting such restaurants on a monthly basis. Perhaps, that will make the restaurant authorities more accountable and keep them on their toes. Ultimately, it is our health which has to bear the brunt.”

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