Home Blog How to Tell If a Restaurant Is Clean and Hygienic 

How to Tell If a Restaurant Is Clean and Hygienic 

by Kim Marks

You hear so many horror stories about popular restaurants getting poor health inspector ratings, and with out-of-date food, cockroach infestations, employees with bad hygiene, and so much more being unearthed, it’s a wonder anyone eats out anymore.

So, how do you separate the good from the bad and ensure you have a memorable dining experience for all the right reasons, not the bad?

From checking out the exterior of the property before you venture inside to inspecting the toilets, read on to discover exactly what you need to do to determine if a restaurant is clean, hygienic, and worth visiting.

Inspect the Outside

Before you even step foot in a restaurant, you can get a good idea of how clean the inside will be by taking a look at the outside. Firstly, consider the state of the property overall. Is it in good condition, or does it look like it needs a little bit of TLC?

Ideally, the restaurant should have quality signage, good paintwork, and sparkling clean windows. Also, look to see if you can see any overflowing garbage bins down the side of the restaurant, as this shows a lack of care for basic hygiene and cleanliness and may indicate unsanitary conditions inside as well.

Ask to See the Health Inspection Certificate

Ask to See the Health Inspection Certificate 

Source: darienite.com

Although not everyone will feel comfortable asking to see a restaurant’s health inspection certificate, you are entitled to ask for it if you want to. Sanitary inspections and certificates are a matter of public interest, which means that you can access them online upon request.

You may find that some restaurants, typically ones that don’t have anything to hide, will proudly display their inspection reports for their customers to see or happily show them to you when you ask.

If you request any records, this will include any violations that were found at the restaurant in question and if or when these were rectified. If you are eating out abroad, then it is worth knowing that you may not be able to check health inspection records, and you may not see the hygiene ratings on the walls.

Look Around the Premises Yourself

If you are not able to get hold of the records or don’t have time to do so, there is no reason why you can’t look around the establishment yourself before you make a reservation.

If possible, go just before service when the restaurant should have been cleaned but before it gets too busy. Make sure to check for overall cleanliness and hygiene and if the floors have been swept and washed and the tables and cutlery are clear and clean.

If you do visit during peak times, such as during the lunchtime rush and dinner service, you can cut the restaurant a little bit of slack, but a basic standard of cleanliness should still be maintained.

Always Check the Toilets


Source: mashed.com

If you only check one part of a restaurant before you sit down to eat, make it the restrooms, as these should always be clean, tidy, and well-maintained. Most restaurants have a cleaning schedule posted on the wall in the toilets so that you can see when they were last checked by a member of staff.

As a general rule, a restaurant should check its toilets at least once an hour during busy times and once every 2-3 hours during less busy times of the day. If you notice that the toilets are not clean, this is a very strong sign that the establishment does not take hygiene seriously enough.

Read Online Reviews

A surefire way to tell what a restaurant is like inside and whether or not it is clean is by checking customer reviews. While some people will excuse poor service or food that is not quite up to scratch, nearly everyone makes a point to complain if a place is dirty or unhygienic.

If the majority of the reviews are positive with only a few minor grumbles, then you can probably book a table without having to worry about any hygiene issues. However, if you notice several reviews that are less than complimentary or that flag up specific issues relating to cleanliness, this is a red flag.

Make sure you don’t just look at customer reviews that are published on the restaurant’s website as these are often biased and, instead, turn to independent review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp.

Take Note of The Employees

restaurant employee

Source: aptito.com

Take a look at the employees to see how they are dressed and if they are well-groomed. If a restaurant is willing to overlook basic hygiene in its staff members, then who knows where else it is letting cleanliness slide?

In terms of staff uniforms, these should be clean and in good condition with no obvious signs of wear and tear. Depending on the type of restaurant you are visiting, you may expect their uniform to be branded and come from a reputable uniform supplier such as Chefworks, which is known for its high-quality garments for the hospitality industry.

Keep an Eye out For Critters

It goes without saying that you don’t want to eat anywhere where there are little creepy crawlies running about, but you may be surprised at just how many restaurants in the United States have a problem with critters.

Some of the most common signs of a pest infestation are flies buzzing around food, a cockroach scuttling near the kitchen, or a mouse running for cover. All restaurants should have an integrated pest control management plan in place, and don’t be afraid to ask for details if you notice any signs of an infestation.

Go with Your Gut

How to Tell If a Restaurant Is Clean and Hygienic 

Source: pgpro.com

As with most things in life, if you have a bad feeling about a restaurant or you suspect that it is not taking cleanliness and hygiene seriously, then go with your gut and don’t book a table. There are hundreds of thousands of restaurants in the United States, the majority of which have good or excellent hygiene ratings, so there is no need to settle for anything below par.