We all know what restaurants are all about: they strive to provide the best possible setting for us to enjoy their wonderful meals and beverages. Add to that small luxuries like special events and parties, a careful blend of certain types of foods, and you have a good restaurant that caters to any foodie.
There are small buffet bars, family diners, medium ranged restaurants, and the high-end restaurants which epitomize the passion and diligence that goes into the art of cuisine.
However, on the other of the spectrum, we have obscure restaurants that, somehow, fail on almost every level, from the horrible food, poor customer service, obnoxious personnel or hygiene. Thankfully, however, there are many warning signs of a poor restaurant.
We’ve all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”, and we usually regard it as valid. Similarly, we often try to respect it daily, making us feel like good citizens, but there are some exceptions that cannot be overlooked.
Moreover, when it comes to restaurants, there are many visible, tell-tale signs that will make you think twice even before trying their special menu.
Here are some of the most common warning signs of an unsafe restaurant and how you can avoid ruining your dinner:
- The exterior looks off
Let’s face it: the first thing we look for in a restaurant is how it advertises itself. We specifically look for how it looks on the outside, its signage, logo, and overall exterior design.
You do not have to be an architecture critic to see bad color choices, rusty metal panels, or rotting wood. Also, is the restaurant new, outdated, or just tries to mimic a “vintage” look?
Watch out for these signs as it can tell you a lot. Of course, there are certain gems out there that simply don’t have a great marketing expert behind: an almost run-down family owned restaurant can have great food and service even though it was never restored.
Nonetheless, these are rare exceptions, and how a restaurant looks on the outside tells a lot about what you will find inside.
- The place is deserted
You go inside, and you feel like a lone gunman in a decrepit restaurant in the late 1800s Wild West. The old, wooden floor is squeaking at your every step, and you can almost hear a pin drop. All right, maybe this is somewhat of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
There are some restaurants that are almost always empty, and there is nothing creepier than eating in a large room all by yourself. Even during Friday or Saturday evenings, these establishments fail to attract a decent amount of clients, and that should send up a red flag.
- Everything is dirty
Before ordering your food, you can evaluate the hygiene of the restaurant by looking at your immediate surroundings. Food stains on the table cloth, poorly washed cutlery, or dirty floors are things that can be seen in a glimpse.
Also, sometimes it is a good idea to visit the restroom before placing your order, just to assess the hygiene levels of the restaurant. Most restaurants have only one restroom, and you can easily see how the personnel is keeping everything under control.
For instance, a restroom without soap might make you wonder whether nobody in the kitchen is washing their hands with soap, either.
- Poor customer service
Not all restaurants have a specialized greeting personnel available, a thing we only see in high-end establishments, but most clients expect some sort of minimal positive customer experience.
We tend to shape our opinions about a restaurant by evaluating how the personnel interacts with us. Although we do not need to be pampered, a set of simple, common-sense public relations rules must be respected in all establishments.
A rude waiter who does not greet his customers is a huge negative, and sometimes it can ruin an otherwise perfectly decent restaurant.
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