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Editors Blog

Keep it Clean!

April 10, 2012 By: Robert Plotkin

There’s a good possibility that I’m extremely odd. But I assure you that I’m no germaphobe. Guys rarely are. Drop a hunk of steak on the bathroom floor, and we’ll still eat it. Heck, we’ll pick our teeth with our fingernails regardless of where those fingers have been recently. Suffice to say that when it comes to germs, I’m not a prissy fussbudget.

While I may be a slob, I would never hand someone his or her drink while holding the top half of the glass. Isn’t that akin to handling the tines of someone’s fork or scooping ice into a glass with your fingers? Unfortunately, it may be happening more than you know.

I’ve been doing some high-tech undercover work lately that has required me to hang out at two highbrow joints in two different cities on consecutive nights. Tipsy as I may have been at the time, I was distressed by the employees’ rampant disregard for the public’s health. Scratching. Picking. Touching. Rubbing. It all gets a little too much to watch.

Bartenders and servers are in ideal positions to get people sick. It can happen in a split second with a flick of the wrist. These days, the media is having a field day with stories about bacteria and viruses. The public — your clientele — is becoming hypersensitive to our friend the germ.

Riddle me this. Could a lipstick-stained glass be the last straw that drives someone to madness? Could a sanitary gaffe provoke one of your guests to go postal on a busser? Stranger things have happened, my friends.

If you agree that there’s altogether too much potential for violence in our lives, please join me in calling for an end to “Publican Slovenliness.” Let’s not get noisy about the crusade; it’s bad for business. Perhaps all we need is a quiet, yet passionate appeal to our courageous trench warriors to accept the following four directives as inviolate:

1) Glassware. Never make a drink without first scrutinizing the glass. Is it clean and intact? Washing glassware entails more than getting glasses clean; they also must be sanitized.

2) Ice. Ice is a food substance and needs to treated as such, which means touching the stuff is strictly verboten. It also means that a scoop handle shouldn’t come in contact with the ice.

3) Date/rotate. Juices, garnishes and drink mixes have shelf lives that should not be exceeded. Perishable items are problematic from a food safety perspective.

4) Finger management. Always keep your fingers clean. Wash them frequently, far more often than you may deem necessary. If you keep your fingers washed, you’ll probably quite accidentally get the entirety of your hands clean.

Germs are terrible things to waste. They’re even worse to pass off to others without their express written consent.


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