Chefs dish on red flags to avoid in restaurants

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Chefs have revealed what customers should considered when choosing a restaurant. Photo: Getty Images

Picking a new restaurant is one of the riskiest ventures the average person will undertake in modern life.

You can check the reviews, but can you trust the reviews?

You can just walk in, but you risk the perils of the unknown.

You can peruse their menu online, but how do you know what you read is what you get?

Before you lose yourself in an intense daydream of horrifying food poisoning of Bridesmaids proportions, we have good news.

The chefs of the internet have come together in one glorious Reddit thread to bring you everything you need to know to stay one step ahead of the restaurant selection game.

No one wants a Bridesmaids moment. Photo: Universal Pictures

What’s below your feet

Dozens of chefs shared a one-word response when asked about their biggest red flags; carpet.

Yep, before you look up a review, look down at your feet because a restaurant with a carpet is a big no-no according to the professionals.

“Carpets are a nightmare to clean and always look dirty after a year of being layed,(sic)” one chef wrote.

“It's quieter and doesn't get slick, but it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen,” admitted another.

The most horrifying testimony came from a carpet cleaning professional who shared a dire warning.

“I clean carpet for a living, and yes restaurants are often disgusting. The stuff we pull out is usually black slime because of grease and grit.”

Ice, ice, baby

According to professionals, this is a death trap. Photo: Getty Images

No matter where you are, a giant red flag waved by chefs near and far is the ice machines.

Turns out, they never get cleaned.

“Many places don’t keep their ice machines cleaned because it’s so often overlooked compared to other kitchen equipment,” one truth teller divulged.

“Thats 99% of the places that serve ice,” another chef agreed. “Dirty secret is that soda fountains/ice dispensers are notorious for being ‘dirty’.”

Size matters

This one might come as a surprise, but almost everyone agrees that the shorter the menu, the higher the chance you’ve struck gold.

“If a restaurant has a one-page menu that's usually a pretty good sign, it means their line cooks have become specialists and can usually nail all the dishes listed,” one chef said.

“A long menu is a red flag,” another concurred. “If they have 40 different entrees, it means that they are preparing a bunch of frozen ingredients...”

Here we were thinking the more variations of eggs benedict the better, but turns out we’ve probably been eating recycled hollandaise sauce.

The people

The people taking your order are an important indication of the quality of restaurant. Photo: Getty Images

We’ve all been into a restaurant with staff who look like they’d rather be getting a root canal procedure than be working, and it turns out that goes way beyond a bad attitude.

It’s generally not a reflection on the server, but rather the establishment.

“If the majority of them seem disgruntled or upset, things probably aren't great,” one chef shared.

“This often translates to the kitchen so they probably don't care about your food if they aren't being treated fairly.”

“If there's p*ssed off people, get out as fast as you can obviously,” another chef pointed out.

Follow your nose

If this smells of anything other than the ocean, get out. Photo: getty Images

One of the biggest red flags raised was to do with seafood restaurants, one former worker pointed out that it can all be deduced from a simple sniff.

“The first thing they told us in culinary school when your learning the basic rules for food safety standards is if you enter a seafood restaurant and smell fish, leave,” they wrote.

“If you enter a seefood shop or restaurant, it should smell like the ocean (sic),” another backed up.

So there you go, in a nutshell check your feet, avoid the ice, keep it simple, watch your waiters and if you smell fish run for the hills.

Perhaps the most sage advice came from a former waiter who told us what we all need to hear.

“If you walk into a restaurant and hear Gordon Ramsay yelling at the staff you probably want to leave,” they pointed out.

“Unless it’s one of Gordon’s restaurants of course.”

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