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How to Tell if a Restaurant is Dirty

We all like eating out, it’s a great way to spend time with friends and family. It’s not without its risks though. When you let somebody else cook for you, you’re putting your health in their hands. It is not often that you get food poisoning from a restaurant but it is probably more common than you think. It can be easily avoided if you eat at places that have been recommended to you by others, and if you look out for some of the tell-tale signs that a restaurant has bad hygiene. Here are some of the main ways that you can tell if a restaurant is dirty.   

Table Area

When you first sit down, have a quick look around and see if there is anything that doesn’t look right. If the tables and seats are sticky, this a very bad sign. If the staff are not taking care to clean the areas that customers are eating in, then it is likely that they’ll be even less thorough in the kitchen areas that you don’t see. It doesn’t always mean that a restaurant is unclean, if it is very busy, it might just mean that they are struggling to keep up with work.

You should also check things like menus and condiments. These are the types of things that would usually be cleaned at the end of the night when the whole restaurant should be getting a good going over. If it looks like staff are leaving at the end of the shift without properly cleaning the restaurant, then dirt is going to build up and the whole place is going to be unhygienic.

Dirty Toilets

dirty toilet.jpeg

A restaurant toilet is getting thousands of visitors a week and it is one of the most important things that needs cleaning in the whole building. It should be getting a good clean morning and night, and a quick once over every few hours or so. Anything less than this is not an acceptable level of cleanliness and should definitely ring alarm bells.


The overall attitude and presentation of the staff is another key indicator. If they are inattentive, rude or lazy, then they obviously have no regard for the restaurant or its customers. If they don’t care enough to be polite to you, then they certainly won’t care enough to keep the kitchens clean. Their clothes can also tell you a lot. If they are all dressed smartly and the kitchen staff are wearing proper attire from places like then you shouldn’t be worried. But it is a bad sign if they aren’t. If the chefs aren’t following basic health and safety rules like that, then they won’t be following the more important ones, such as using separate chopping boards for raw and cooked food, to avoid contamination. This is one of the most common ways that people get food poisoning.

Hygiene Rating

hygiene rating.jpeg

All restaurants are subject to inspections and given ratings. If you go into a clean restaurant, they will usually have their certificate proudly displayed on the wall. If you can’t see one anywhere, it’s probably because the management don’t want you to see what score they got. If you can’t see an obviously displayed hygiene rating, turn around and leave immediately.

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