Repulsive Restaurants? 

John Libby, Hour 2

Have you ever seen those memes where it’s a fast-food employee doing something nasty like standing in tubs of lettuce or licking a whole stack of Dorito taco shells? Are those just common occurrences, or does fast food just have some kind of stigma around it?

Frequency of Failures

Just over 3 million people in the united states work fast food jobs, and with that many people, it is almost inevitable that gross things will happen within the restaurants employing them. But how often does it happen? According to Jacob lutovsky “Typically no, it doesn’t happen often, however, it’s really up to the staff to keep things cleaned and sanitized to prevent issues.” By taking jakes opinion into consideration, it becomes clearer that these kinds of things come from people just stopping to care about the consequences of their actions, allowing them to justify acting on impulses more often.

“Number 15…Burger King Foot Lettuce”

A man standing in burger king lettuce from 2012 posted on a messaging board website called 4chan

In July 2012, on a messaging board website called 4chan, an image was posted with the caption “This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King.” Within a week, the manager fired the guy who stood in the bare lettuce and a few others who were involved.

Burger King Corp. has recently been made aware of a photo that shows a Burger King restaurant employee violating the company’s stringent food handling procedures. Food safety is a top priority at all Burger King restaurants and the company maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations such as the one in question.

This was a portion of the statement that burger king had given to the LA Times in 2012, though unfortunately, they didn’t release the full statement. And according to “The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and terminated the three employees involved in the incident.” in this case, the employees are in the wrong, but they only did this for a picture and threw away all of the lettuce. So those employees who took what they thought was a funny image were fired over the majority thinking it was used in burgers even though it wasn’t. 

Power of Prevention 

Jacob lutovsky when asked what he does to prevent gross things from happening said, “As a GM, there are a lot of food safety practices and standards, and with that, it is my job to enforce and teach about them. Coming from a franchised restaurant, often it’s just as simple as passing on papers and monitoring staff.” The quote shines light upon the importance of the little things when in fast food.

While most people don’t see the point in doing any of the small things, a lot of them are what keep people from getting sick, or even worse. For example; in the taco bell prep cards, it says that every time an employee pulls a bag of meat out of the re-thermalizer the meat needs to temp at over 165 before it can go into the hot well or the hot storage, but a good portion of employees will never even attempt to see if the meat is hot enough. Since the meat is precooked it does not matter with most of them, but it does matter with the chicken. When taco bell chicken isn’t hot enough it can lead to sickness or even death.

Trash Tacos

In the image below there is an employee of taco bell in late 2012-early 2013 licking a stack of the cool ranch Doritos locos tacos. The photo was taken for a taco bell Facebook competition where employees show themselves eating the new item not yet released, and he wanted to have a little fun with it. Though Taco bell corporate was not having a fun time:

A man licking new Doritos locos tacos in late 2012-early 2013

Here at taco bell, we have strict food handling procedures and zero tolerance for any violations…When we learned of the situation we immediately contacted this restaurant’s leadership and although we believe it is a prank and the food was not served to customers, we are conducting a full-scale investigation and will be taking swift action against those involved

Unlike with the burger king foot lettuce incident, these employees weren’t fired right off of the bat. With the employees not being fired it is easier to investigate what exactly happened with the tacos is a great example of what a good company investigation should look like. 

Fast food while indeed gross at times, seems to be just a regular amount of gross compared to things like slums, public bathrooms, or airplanes even (all things that fast food has been compared to).