Integrity vs. Cost of running a business

You come into work and are organizing your walk-in, you come across several out of date products.
What do you do?
Do you re-label it
Do you put it on "special of the day"
Do you cook it up and serve it to the employees
Or simply do you toss it.

I ran across a situation the other day where I found product that was out of date. I informed my superior of the problem and asked how does he want to account for the product. He reacts by not throwing it away, running a special on the items, and having someone change the labels. I questioned his actions and his reply it is the cost of running a business.

What’s your thoughts?

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Comment by Andy Swingley on April 25, 2008 at 3:20am
So where do you draw the line in the sand on what rules to follow and where did you earn the qualification to decide how long food is good for?

Go ahead and take the chance and keep your food product a little longer and you take the chance of hurting or possibly killing someone. It is called food safety for a reason and the food scientists determine how long product maintains it's quality and shelf life. Hurt just one person and I bet you would change your tune quickly. There is no tray of rice pilaf worth hurting anyone. Sure you can drive 70 when it says 65 but research shows more accidents happen above the speed limit and you hurt someone else so if you want to take that chance go ahead and drive as fast as you want. No worries right, it's just a guideline.....

I hope you have never have had food poisoning and that you never get it but trust me you are getting it because someone was careless or didn't follow the procedures put in place by Serve Safe, HAACP, or whatever control features should have been in place but hey they are just guidelines right.....

I won't go into every example you give for why it is okay to break a law or guideline but let's suffice it to say that if your Company or Owner tells you what the rules of the business are you are paid to adhere to them. If you don't like the rules it doesn't give you the right to change them. Yeah go ahead and serve brown broccoli cheese soup or salty French Onion soup to the guest, I bet they won't mind you serving them a crap product...hey it's just Applebee's food right, no one thinks it should be any good any way.....

When an ederly woman such as your grandmother comes into your restaurant in a immuno-deficient state, you serve her something out of date by a few hours, her body reacts aggressively to the item and it severly hurts her or possibly kills her you would regret it for the rest of your life but hey it's just a guideline......

So go ahead and change the rules to what you think is best not what the expert thinks.....I won't - it is integrity and it shows poor decision making on your part and if you will make a poor decision on this, you will make it on other things so go sleep with a host because those fraternization rules are just a guideline.....right?
Comment by Stoligirl on April 24, 2008 at 10:56pm
I'm a big fan of just following the LDIRTS system we have in place. (Label, Date, Initial, Rotate, Time, Shiftlife). Items out of date should be logged, accounted for, and tossed. But realistically, that is not what always happens, and there are times that items get re-labeled. Sometimes it's because the item wasn't labeled correctly in the first place. Other times, it's based on food cost, and the judgement of the MOD. Even though the line check may list the proper temperature and shift life of the item, are they willing to dump 2 sheet trays of rice pilaf at 4:00pm on Friday, simply because the label said it would be expired a few hours before that?

Do they make decisions based on whether it's fish, steak, starch, dairy, etc? From my observations, yes. People are very conservative when it comes to seafood, but much more relaxed about cheese. Not everyone agrees with the shiftlife chart, and feel it's more of a 'recommendation' or 'guideline' rather than requirement.

While some of us might view this as an integrity issue, some view it subjectively, based on the product or situation. Perhaps they remember the days when portioned dressing had a shift life that was longer than
4 shifts= 2days= 48 hours, especially when that dressing was portioned, untouched, and has been held in a very clean 1/6 pan, covered, and at the proper temperature for the two days it didn't get utilized. In their eyes, it could be the same way speed laws are observed. The sign says 65mph, but many are driving 70, and the ones that get the ticket are usually going 75+. Have you seen many people throw out half an expo line because it temped at 42 degrees?

Why did they change the dressing shift life, from 5 days, to 4 days, to 2 days? Were guests getting sick, or was it because people were changing labels and extending it beyond the acceptable days? Isn't there a difference between working dressings and untouched ones that happen to be portioned in a drip cut?

Honestly, I remember life before ServSafe and Ecosure audits. I remember when a health department inspection was less than ten minutes, and the only labels seemed to be on the cans in dry storage. Hand washing was something you did only after you used a restroom.

It's wonderful to see restaurants being held more accountable to higher food safety standards. I love seeing trainers and managers actively coaching during line checks. I love all the handwashing that I see at new openings. It's nice to see the same passion for BOH cleanliness applied to FOH and the bar.

That being said...If the soup goes past the three hour mark, it doesn't mean I'm going to sleep with a host. It means the Broccoli cheese will brown, and the FOS will taste salty. Let's give the 'why's' when we are doing the 'what's.' -Andi
Comment by Andy Swingley on April 24, 2008 at 3:56pm
It is an integrity issue for me-changing the labels....come on.....steal an egg, steal an ox...what's next...sleeping with the employees?

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