Here we will cover the foods that you should generally avoid in restaurants. There isn’t a specific food in restaurants that you should altogether avoid, as restaurants are bound to produce safe foods under regulations by the government. However, from our experience, we can tell you that there are some foods that still should be avoided in restaurants under certain circumstances.
If you are vegan or have to eat gluten-free foods, then you will find this article very helpful, but so will other individuals that are trying to avoid certain types of foods in a restaurant for other reasons. If you are just trying to eat healthier at restaurants in general, then you might find this article to be very helpful too.
When restaurants make their food, there is a certain thing done in restaurants that makes cooking food for their guests more profitable and easier for them to do. Restaurants will usually only cook one type of main food whenever they make their food at a restaurant. This food will come in different variations. This is why some restaurants are burger restaurants, while other restaurants are pizza restaurants for example.
Restaurants thrive on being able to create new dishes and food items easily this way by sticking with what they can cook easily. This means that you shouldn’t try to place unusual demands on a restaurant that is outside of what they specialize in doing. Most of their equipment is designed to cook the food that they specialize in. However, to make a profit and attempt to please their customers, restaurants will sometimes try to take on the requests that their customers request.
With that said, the foods that you should avoid at a restaurant are foods that the restaurant is offering that don’t necessarily fit into the food genre that the restaurant normally offers. Most likely these additional or new food items on their menu aren’t freshly made, and could possibly have been precooked and reheated straight from a package. If you don’t mind that, then that’s cool, but if you want the freshest food possible, then you should know this. These food, drink, or dessert items could also be lackluster in flavor, since they aren’t what the restaurant generally specializes in cooking. Sometimes they can be pretty good though.
These foods can be bakery goods that are being offered at a burger place, a new burger that is being offered at a restaurant that specializes in pasta dishes, or new pies, milkshakes, or other desserts being offered at a restaurant that never had them before. It doesn’t mean that you should immediately be suspicious and assume that they 100% are avoidable, but you should give thought on how these different food, or dessert items are being made when a restaurant usually can only have the capacity in their facility to make the food that they specialize in.
Also, restaurants that are able to somehow cook and offer all kinds of different meats on their single menu (chicken, beef, pork, seafood, lamb) in their restaurant are a clear warning sign that they probably have many foods there that you should generally avoid. This is especially true if they offer side dishes and desserts with all these varieties too. A restaurant can only handle so much at a time. This is why they generally try to only specialize in one or two types of food (meat in this case) to cook.
A restaurant can end up taking on more than they can chew whenever they have many types of meats for example that they offer on their menu. This means that there is a higher chance of the restaurant doing careless things that could lead to food poisoning and cross contamination. Foods have been found to be stored improperly, in containers with other raw foods, on shelves where raw food is above them; where they can leak contamination on fresh food, and left in containers on the floor at restaurants with too many varieties on their menu.
Even if the managers at these types of restaurants know the proper way to store all of their foods in this situation, there newer employees will most likely not follow them or make the mistake of improperly storing the food, because there is simply too much that the restaurant is trying to do at once by having large varieties of food types on their menu.
Usually a large variety of meats for example, means that they are most likely precooked and heavily processed in order to meet the demands of food safety regulations.
This obviously includes restaurants that offer buffets, as their foods are most likely going to be stored improperly, and could end up easily getting people sick over time. This would be buffets that are offering common breakfast, lunch, or dinner items that don’t focus on a general main food for their guests. The employees at restaurants like this often can’t keep up with the work load needed to properly care for each individual food item.
Also, open buffets in a restaurant where the public can easily grab the food at their leisure, could mean that the food should be generally avoided at the restaraunt. You don’t know what people will do to that food. We have seen other people (guests) on more than one occasion pick at and touch food with their bare hands. Atleast the food is kept hot enough to kill harmful bacteria in the food if it is in a warmer for the public.
These types of restaurants (and variety restaurants in grocery stores) sometimes wash dishes and make food in dishes that are still dirty after they have been washed. Also, their equipment used to cook and make their food could have food buildup from last month from the lack of time to properly clean them. Though health inspectors do check on a restaurant’s cleanliness during their visits, they can’t be there to watch the restaurant everyday to make sure that they aren’t making these violations.
Basically, our advice, is that you stick with restaurants that make only one type of food like pastas, burgers, pizza, seafood, breads, desserts, drinks, or any other examples like this, if you want to try to avoid general foods that could be subpar or possibly get you sick in a restaurant. A restaurant offering many different food items in different categories, can certainly offer fresh and clean food, drinks, and desserts, but usually they have a harder time keeping up with the work load to be able to keep it this way all the time.
Gluten-Free And Vegan Requests For Foods At Restaurants
For gluten-free requests at a restaurant, our experience is that majority of the time restaurants are pretty honest on how they handle the food. If they can’t do it, then they usually will just tell you that they can’t, or that they have gluten-free options. Majority of the time they do take these requests seriously. This means that if they have experienced with making foods gluten-free in the past, they will usually have a complete set up designed to keep the cooked food gluten-free while it is made.
Restaurants have even gone as far as to set up strerile equipment or have clean equipment designated for making gluten-free food requests for their guests. Some individuals have the wrong idea of thinking that a restaurant wouldn’t go to such extents, and that it wasn’t really possible for a restaurant to do this. They think the restaurant would have to clean their entire equipment first in the middle of a rush to make one customer’s request gluten-free.
However, restaurants usually only have to use a clean knife and a few clean dishes in order to fulfill a gluten-free request. Restaurants always have extra dishes available majority of the time. Restaurants also usually have extra cooking equipment like pots or pans that they can easily grab to make and cook gluten-free foods separately in. For some restaurants, a gluten-free request can be fulfilled easily by changing their gloves and simply sending the food down the line on a piece of aluminum foil so that it doesn’t touch any other surfaces.
Unfortunately, there have been some rare incidents where managers have skipped taking these extra precautions, because they were too dense or conceited to understand the importance of actually fulfilling a gluten-free request. This happened once when the restaurant was really busy. Most of the time, even during busy hours, restaurants have ways to actually make gluten-free requests happen.
Our advice concerning gluten-free requests is to generally avoid getting gluten-free requests done at restaurants with managers that don’t appear to be taking a gluten-free request seriously, or restaurants that seem to be a little new on how to handle these requests.
It is also possible for restaurants with new crew members, that you aren’t used to seeing, easily messing up gluten-free requests and contaminating the food. If the workers seem to be annoyed about your gluten-free request, then it is probably best to avoid ordering food from them and pick another restaurant. File a complaint to see if corporate could possibly set up a real gluten-free method at the restaraunt for future visits. You can also ask them beforehand how they are going to make the food gluten-free (if they are able to), just to be on the safe side.
Vegan requests are usually not done at restaurants that don’t already have a food item on their menu that is vegan. The person wanting food to be vegan has to request for the food to be made without certain things on it that aren’t vegan, if they want the food or drink made this way. Vegans should avoid all restaurants in general if they are serious about being a vegan to the point that they don’t even want their food to come in contact with equipment and other things where non-vegan foods have touched.
It is best for a vegan to go to a restaurant that specializes in making vegan foods, drinks, and desserts, than to expect a typical restaurant to fulfill all their vegan requirements. Vegans do order food regularly at all types of restaurants, but usually the restaurant doesn’t know that the person ordering the food is vegan, and they aren’t even told. Vegans just usually make the requests to change their foods so that they don’t come with non-vegan additions.
It is not a sure bet to ask the crew members at a restaurant if their food is gluten-free or vegan. Usually only the owner of the restaurant knows this information for sure.