It’s always a crapshoot when dining out at a restaurant for the first time. While it may look good from the outside, the food might not match. And while it’s hard to know that without ordering and tasting the food, there are some clues that may reveal a bad experience awaits, and folks who are in the industry are the most likely to pick up on those.
Now those experts are sharing what to look out for, after someone on Reddit asked chefs to reveal the “red flags” that indicate to them a restaurant may not be good.
Red flags include:
- “Number one evaluation effect for me is smell. If it’s a sour smell or disinfectant smell — red flag."
- "Random, but if there's a fish tank, take a look at it. If it's clean, you can bet the kitchen is too."
- "Dirty bathrooms and dirty floors equal dirty kitchen."
- "A huge menu is a sign that food is either frozen, precooked, and reheated — or ingredients are not very fresh."
- “Where's the manager and what are they doing? Do they look exhausted or are they upbeat, helpful, and engaging with their staff? Good managers tend to attract good staff which in turn leads to a good business. Bad management does exactly the opposite."
- "Carpet is a red flag — it's quieter and doesn't get slick, but it is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in restaurants. Vacuuming only goes so far."
- "The bread. It has to be good bread. If they can't get the bread right, they don't know anything. No chef in their right mind half-asses the bread."
- "If you can smell the seafood when you walk in, then it's not fresh. Fresh seafood doesn't have that scent we usually associate with it — it doesn't get that until it's old."
- "If you see lots of plates left half-full, run."
- "Cheap ketchup on the table, or if they even let you see the ketchup brand."