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You’re Known by the Company You Keep

On April 12 at the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) Industry Awards Gala, Foodservice Monthly will join four all-star restaurants Antrim 1844, Linwoods, Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs, and Crab Quarters as the 2015 inductees into the RAM Hospitality Hall of Honor. Talk about being judged by the company you keep. We’re feeling mighty proud today. When we started the publication with the February 2002 issue, we stated on the front page that Foodservice Monthly would strive to be a “new voice in the foodservice industry … with an informative, imaginative, insightful magazine.” We have worked hard to “bring integrity, to its pages in its commitment to foodservice communication and journalism excellence.” Thank you for recognizing our effort and indeed our work continues each and every day.

Of the members of the Hall of Honor, there are 12 Allied Members besides Foodservice Monthly, the only publication so honored. I am proud to have four of them as advertisers in this issue: Acme Paper and Supplies, Hearn Kirkwood, Saval Foodservice, and H&S Bakery. Thank you for your support … you keep us working to communicate the news of the Mid-Atlantic foodservice industry.

Finding a Clean Bathroom Can Be a Thrill
My expectation of finding a clean bathroom is pretty low. I don’t care how many check marks for visits by staff during the day or what the sign says about pride in a pristine toilet center … the majority don’t prove by their actions. Most are OK and tolerable after finding the higher standard too much to expect. The higher end places add the softer mood lighting, music and perhaps fragrance. Even though perhaps you can’t see as well, the finer independent establishments can be counted on to maintaining their attention to details in the restroom. And we’re not just talking foodservice … a public restroom is a public restroom … or is that a rose is a rose is a rose.

Recently I went into the New Carrollton Amtrak restroom and they’ve set the lowest standard. It is filthy. Flies buzzing about the urinals in January. Dirty walls have drilled out holes that look like war zone havens of bacteria. The air blower is about three feet high – fine for the under 10 crowd. I wrote Amtrak about it and got back a form email detailing their appreciation of my scathing condemnation. They would turn it over to the station manager and all would be well. Not that you should think this has a happy ending, it doesn’t. Still filthy … next are Instagram fotos #Amtrak.

Then there is the Safeway a couple of miles from Eastern HQ and a mile from my house … If Amtrak is filthy, then this is just dirty. Yesterday the paper towel was empty and the room dank. Oddly the only person who can use the dispenser has to be at the last sink. You see it is placed right over the sink’s edge about 12 inches above it. Not convenient. Next to the other sink is the location of the last dispenser before it was ripped out of the wall. That’s next to the pride sign. Five miles away the Wegmans maintains clean bathrooms that don’t look like a neglected truck stop.

There’s another somewhat lower expectation for bar/restaurants where they great extra nighttime usage. But the good ones do try to keep up with the volume.

Then there is the unexpected thrill and the bar is raised. During the Ocean City Expo, I ate one night at the Claddagh on the Shore. I didn’t realize I was in Delaware but it’s located in Fenwick Island. At some point in the pleasant restaurant/bar/entertainment establishment, I went to the restroom. Inside it is brightly lit (nothing to hide here). It was pristine. Floors and walls clean. Urinals and sinks clean. I don’t think they had the sign or the hourly cleaning check off. It was just clean. Someone there cares. Thank you. #Thrilling.

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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