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For many years we've used a local Asian takeway which is so popular, that whilst waiting to collect our food, I've often heard staff telling people ordering by 'phone that they'll have to wait two hours for delivery. I can imagine the sighs of frustration at the other end, but since the food's so good, customers are rarely put off. Although I could never quite pinpoint why, the place never struck me as being wonderfully spotless; but it was OK - and since there was an unobstructed view through to where the food was cooked and packed, I felt reasonably safe frequenting it and watching the men prepare our meal. While I wasn't surprised to learn that the establishment hadn't fared well in the Food Hygiene Ratings scheme, we continued to use it and since it didn't seem any less busy (and with local social media groups you can't bury bad news however hard you try!) it appears that I wasn't alone in my confidence.
Until Covid, that is. We hadn't eaten out at all - or bought a takeaway, since the Coronavirus started making news, but following an 'all hands on deck' day in the garden, we were too exhausted to cook and decided to order in. Did we use our usual takeaway? No. We ordered from one that also offers tasty food but which has regularly boasted a Five Star Hygiene rating - and this was mentioned in the restaurant review I subsequently posted.
It took me back to one of the very first Leaders I wrote, many years ago. A new friend joined our crowd's regular jaunt to London's Battersea Show Palace, where, a couple of times nightly, the bar was shut to enable the staff (all actors 'between roles') to climb onto it, to perform 20 minute bursts from West End shows. So committed was the place to putting on an extravaganza that it even installed an indoor racetrack so staff could perform Starlight Express.
It wasn't so committed to keeping its washrooms clean though and our new friend soon announced that much as he loved the place, he'd never return as the loos were so filthy. I remember thinking: "But you're a bloke. Why the interest in toilet hygiene?" I based my Leader on the damage dirty washrooms can do to a venue's reputation (and thus its profits).
Since then I've learnt that washroom hygiene (and actually hygiene in general) is every bit as important whatever your gender - and particularly so in this day and age.
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22nd October 2020