Earlier this week, visited a branch of an upscale bakeshop in Talisay City and perused the goods they had available that morning. Not one to frequent the place as prices are a bit too inflated and there are plenty of other places that offer tastier selections for a lower cost, stopped in to look around nonetheless. Settling on a couple roll cake slices, noticed, just behind the front counter, three small cockroaches were running around on the table, adjacent to where the roll cakes were being wrapped.
It was a bit jarring considering this place is considered upmarket (seeing the prices they charge), yet sanitation standards still allow for the presence of cockroaches? Joked that, many times, businesses in the Philippines are not subject to sanitation regulations, then looked to the wall and saw their sanitation certificate from the city. To be honest, in all the visits to carinderias, have yet to see a cockroach run around the premises while eating – yet the bakeshop in question is the one approved for its sanitation standards.
However, this is not an isolated case. Once ordered a plate of nachos, only to find something crawling around amid the chips – luckily, caught it before eating and the restaurant (presumably) brought out a fresh batch; and have seen plenty of cockroaches running around in each of the local supermarkets.
Beyond cockroaches, there was one image that put a local restaurant on the absolute blacklist.
On a visit to the Marketplace, just next to the Bacolod City Government Center, noticed a cook from one of the restaurant outside urinating – one has to wonder, is there no bathroom provided for the staff? Once he was done, he zipped up and went right back into the kitchen with no indication if he washed his hands. While one cannot be completely sure service staff is washing appropriately, to witness kitchen staff forced to urinate in public and go right back to the kitchen, doubt it is a place worth patronizing.
In New York City, and many other cities in the United States, the city government gives restaurants grades and requires they display them publicly. Based on personal experience and the preferences of friends, even if a restaurant has a “B” posted on their window, it is an indication to stay away. Upon the next inspection, if the situation improves, they can be upgraded and offer a shiny “A” for the public to see – have also given opportunities to places that have worked to raise their grades.
Then again, in those places, sanitation department staff commits to their routine and ensures everything is up to date. Given the bakeshop had multiple cockroaches and still had the approval from the sanitation department, shows inspections are not conducted often; and, if they are, the inspector may not be doing that great of a job.
Perhaps, like many other government jobs, the person in charge of approving sanitation inspections is simply a paper-pusher; put in a job to keep a seat warm.
Maybe he or she got the job merely by virtue of being a friend of a friend of a friend – the way things typically work in every sector of the Philippines.
Additionally, the bakeshop and the restaurant without a bathroom for kitchen staff are both part of a chain of restaurants. Personally speaking, for one branch to be lacking in sanitation, cannot help but think that is the standard for the entire company. Why neglect one part of the company?
Much like the cases in the United States, when Domino’s Pizza employees, on separate occasions, were caught rubbing pizza on their butt and putting cheese up their nose before placing it on food intended for customers to consume, maybe these were isolated incidents, but it was also a signal to not eat food from Domino’s anymore.
In a New York Times article regarding the cheese incident, Stephanie Clifford wrote, “In just a few days, Domino’s reputation was damaged.”
“The perception of its quality among consumers went from positive to negative,” she explained.
As is the way one would perceive these local businesses that choose to neglect sanitation standards.
In the end, besides witnessing the filthy habits some restaurants consider hygiene and being disgusted by it, there will come a time when somebody may get sick – then again, in Bacolod City, and its environs, most business owners are probably more concerned about making sure the customer pays their tab./WDJ