From dealerships to developers to dining establishments, all businesses rely in some part on a code of ethics. Unspoken values and written policies help to shape the personality of one’s business, and it can keep customers coming back for more - or send them scrambling for the nearest exit. When it comes to business ethics, there are no shortcuts to prosperity. For restaurants, the deal is no different.
Food Safety Standards
Many people overlook the ethics that are involved with food safety, but they’re the foundation of the enforcement and support that goes into the policies designed to keep customers safe. While it may be tempting to squeeze some life out of slightly-expired ingredients or to become lazy in your labeling efforts, the result directly impacts the well-being of your customers and is truly an ethical decision. If you’re willing to forego or smudge the boundaries of policy, then it’s purely ethics and values that drives your decision-making at that point. By vowing to always place food safety standards above financial gains, you’re taking an ethical stance on how you value the safety of your customers. They’re placing their health in your hands when they enter your establishment; will you take responsibility?
As with customers, employees are another facet to the human component that drives restaurants. For many owners, they may overlook their employees in favor of apathy, becoming lazy in their responsibility to their own staff members. Whether it be poor compensation, hasty scheduling, or oversight of break times, there are a variety of ways to express your carefree attitude for the well-being of your employees. Food establishments should commit to breaking the trend of overworking and underpaying employees. Addressing this issue in a code of ethics can dramatically impact your reputation among potential employees, and you may see employee retention rates rise in response!
Sure, your restaurant may be up to par when it comes to ethical conduct, but are you holding your suppliers accountable as well? Getting bulk products at dirt cheap prices might be tempting, but refusing to ask questions for the sake of a few extra dollars may prove to be dangerous. To show a commitment to ethics, food establishments should perform due diligence before signing a contract with a new supplier. This includes getting to know your contact at any given company on a friendly yet professional level. Know where the supplier gets their items, how they raise their products, and whether or not they’re using additives that you don’t support. Humane treatment of animals is a topical and important issue, so don’t overlook the social responsibilities that come with supplier standards.
Public Health Issues
Topical issues in modern society shape what customers find acceptable, and it also shapes what you as a restaurant owner should find acceptable to serve as well. Are you willing to condone the sale of notoriously unhealthy food items? Do you overlook additives? Any of these questions will shape what you choose to serve and how you choose to serve it. Public health issues can streamline your menu and emphasize your restaurant’s ideology and code of ethics.