I've been wanting to write this blog post for awhile.
We're about 78 counties into our statewide journey for guidebook research. One thing we have really come to appreciate is cleanliness, in restaurants especially. You still need to have good food, preferably made-from-scratch, but a disgusting bathroom and a dirty kitchen that extends out to the dining area is something that will trump good food and likely eliminate a restaurant from guidebook consideration.
Whether you're a customer, owner, or employee, it's easy to become accustomed to what you see regularly. It's even harder to see the grunginess if the owner is likeable.
I know that it's REALLY hard to find time to clean a kitchen and dining room because food service is such a tough business. Still, while a customer is waiting for food they are noticing the environment around them. My bet is that being closed for a week to do a thorough cleaning will garner more business over the long term than letting the layers of dirt grow.
It's not our place to judge a business but it currently is our job to decide what places are guidebook worthy. To gain the trust of our audience we need to consider many factors about what to include.
I want Kansas restaurants to be the best they can be. My hope is that some of the hard-working owners will see this and give an extra thought to how a little bit of scrubbing will add some shine to what they present on a plate.
This is one time that I don't want to "dare to do dirt."
Thoughts from the road, KE #2 Marci Penner