Everyone loves a scandal, so restaurant exposés are pretty common. Unfortunately, such revelations are often about gross stuff like bad food, horrible conditions, and a lack of cleanliness. Read about the top 10 most sizzling restaurant exposés if you think you can stomach it.
1. Gordon Ramsey’s Foi Gras Cruelty
Many people would love to see the downfall of the popular British celebrity chef who barks his way through a variety of reality shows. The restaurant world was shocked when footage was published in 2013 showing great cruelty at a duck farm that supplied one of his restaurants with foi gras, according to the DailyMail.com.
The birds were shown to be force-fed by a metal tube three times a day, raising cries of protest from industry and animal groups alike. The site reported that Ramsey decried the cruelty of killing sharks to make shark fin soup in the movie Shark Bait, making him out to be a hypocrite.
Ramsey said that he sold the restaurant in 2009 and the site was licensed to use his name; he claimed his position was as a consultant only. Anti-cruelty groups like PETA maintain that ducks are kept in deplorable conditions at such farms. They call for chefs like Ramsey to swear off foi gras, and seeing that it’s made from a duck’s liver, it seems like an easy compromise.
2. Count the Calories
As of 2010, restaurant chains with more than a handful of locations are required to post the calorie values of their regular menu items. Many people were shocked to find the number of restaurant’s salads that offered more calories than a Big Mac.
3. The Reality of Restaurant Employees
According to the 2013 ‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ expose by Saru Jayaraman, the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley, the statistics concerning restaurant employees are staggering: of the 12 to 13 million working in the industry, most make salaries far below the poverty threshold. Adding insult to injury is the lack of benefits, sick days, or even regular raises, among other disparities, according to jobs.AOL.com.
4. Bad Storage Choices at Golden Corral
Many diners love the numerous buffets offered by the Golden Corral chain, but some may have changed their feelings after seeing the video posted by a Florida Golden Corral employee, as reported by Gawker.com. According to the employee, the video shows the restaurant hiding both raw and cooked food outside by a dumpster to keep it from being seen during a health inspection.
Golden Corral maintained that it was an isolated incident, none of the food was given to customers, and the manager was fired. Speculation has gone both for and against the restaurant and the video-posting employee.
5. Rounding Up for Chipotle
Going out to eat is a treat for most, and many save up their pennies to enjoy dining out once in awhile. So it really seemed deceitful when it came to light that Chipotle was rounding up to the nearest nickel and charging more on diner’s receipts. According to a 2012 article in TheStir.com, Chipotle restaurants were rounding up the cost of a customer’s meal to ‘save time;’ a meal that was listed for $8.95 would be billed at $9.00. Chipotle maintained that they were no longer going to utilize the practice, but would round down instead.
6. Menu Engineers
Many restaurants looking to boost their bottom lines are utilizing menu engineers; they show restaurant’s tips and tricks to lead customers to pay more, such as leaving the ‘$’ symbol off the prices or making the prices hard to find on the menu.
7. Subway’s Yoga Mats
In February 2014, mainstream media picked up the story that Subway uses a chemical in its bread that is also found in yoga mats. Called azodicarbonamide or ADA, the chemical is used in both bread-making and the manufacture of various plastics as a strengthener and puffing agent. Subway quickly vowed to stop using ADA, according to LAWeekly.com.
The chemical has been approved by the FDA since 1962 in small quantities, but various organizations—such as the World Health Organization—believe that it may be more harmful than previously thought. The kicker is that Subway is not the only one to use the chemical; according to the article, ADA is found in more than 500 breads, meats, and other foods.
8. Chef Labels NYC Restaurant Grades as Bogus
The health department of New York City has been giving letter grades to restaurants—and the restaurants are in turn supposed to display their grades to the public—since 2010. However, a recent ‘C’ grade for one of the city’s finest restaurants—Per Se—has prompted Executive Chef Josh Grinker to sound off about the system.
According to Grinker’s expose posted on the new site PIX11.com, the alphabetical system doesn’t focus on important issues that impact human health, but unimportant aspects such as if the choking sign is posted correctly.
9. Marketing Heavily to Kids
It seems pretty obvious now, but many were up in arms over a report that fast food restaurants market to kids. Some chains stopped including toys in kids’ meals, while others refused.
10. The Use of Secret Hand Signals
The Washington Post revealed restaurant’s special hand signals to denote important guests, an anniversary or birthday, or a preference for something special. Now you know how they knew it was your birthday!