Thursday, July 9, 2020
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Ocala

Letter to the Editor: Restaurants should be careful responding to failed health inspections

To the Editor:

When you fail a health inspection be careful how you respond. Especially out of emotion. The court of “Public Opinion” is harsh and swift. Customers want an apology and a way to fix the problem. The same approach to a dish being served cold, we want our problem addressed and corrected. We don’t want to hear about how long you’ve been open. We don’t want to hear who was sick or if you are short staffed. We want food. Delicious hot food. Why? Because we work hard too. Overworked, underpaid, running late, kids are hungry and we decide your establishment will make our bellies full and our attitudes brighter. We chose you.

That’s the deal. You put a smile on your customers face. You want them to come back. You cook, we eat, we come back. Pests, roaches, gnats, are not a part of that deal. For some customers, it’s a non-negotiable. Period.

Too many business owners want to defend the history of the restaurant or how delicious the food is. In reality, nobody cares. We don’t want our food with roaches or bugs in it. If you don’t fix it, we will go somewhere else.

Harsh? yes, but truthful. The reason why people will go to the chains is because they have sanitation procedures, rules, regulations and countermeasures. They will have the trained staff and restaurant management team that stays on top of current regulations. Health Codes and procedures are ingrained into their training. Unfortunately, money does play a large part in how this affects the small business. However, it shouldn’t. Food safety and sanitation should be a part of the restaurants budget. Additionally, training the staff is the key to success. With an aggressive insect/rodent plan while using preventive measures should keep roaches out of your kitchen.

Your food may be delicious. Your restaurant may have served generations of families within Marion County. Until you take food sanitation and safety as serious as large corporations, our children will only remember the stories of “Mom and Pop” and how the food used to be.

Damon Vitale
Culinary Program Coordinator at Marion Technical College.

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