I spent a lovely weekend in Atlanta, browsing through Atlantic Station, visiting malls and dining at a couple hot spots; and if there is one thing I hate it’s dirty serving ware. I normally let somethings go, tell the waitstaff and keep it moving; but when an issue reveals itself over and over I have to say “wait just one minute.”

This year I have noticed an increase in lipstick smudged glassware and dirty dishes, first at a supposedly pricey restaurant in Atlanta, then at local breakfast chain outside the ATL.

It was the smudge of lipstick on the rim of my daughter’s wine glass…sorta a red-ish pink color and the same on her coffee cup at the “Barrel” that raised my blood pressure. You might think…the glass and cup have certainly been sterilized in the dishwasher. No problem!

I don’t think so. There are so many health concerns today, the last thing a customer needs is to worry about sipping from a glass that carries the germs of another customer.

A bit of investigative work revealed there is a reason why lipstick is left on the rim of the glasses and cups. First of all, lipstick is being made to last, remember the commercials tell us once you apply the lipstick it will stay on all day. Then when you want to remove it you must use either a lipstick remover ointment or Vaseline. Is anyone in the restaurant industry listening? Okay let me make it clearer. The emollients in lipstick are designed to help lipstick stay on your lips along with doing a great job at keeping the lipstick glued to the glassware. So before washing the stemware a dishwasher needs to rub the edges with salt i.e. (an abrasive) to erase lipstick stains. Oh, too labor intensive, then put the public's health at risk?

I would love to hear about other suggestions and or experiences.

Food for thought

How much responsibility goes to the server who either serves the beverage or the bartender who grabs the glass? Is it too much to ask waitstaff to check the glasses before pouring? Or is this just another blameless act?

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Comment by joseph buckner on December 13, 2009 at 8:37pm
I know exactly what your talking about having run several kitchens in my career, I have run into this problem and it's first the chef problem most chefs only care about the food and the art of it what about the canvis that the foodart goes on or in it's about looking after the smallest of details and passing it on to your staff. and yes the survers and bartending staff as well.( and yes there are dishwashing chems that clen lipstick of all glasses)



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