Dateline NBC recently lit a fire in the kitchens of national family style restaurants with its report on dirty dining.
Dateline producers took their hidden cameras along as they dined at some of the nation’s leading family chains, including Alabama. They found several clean and well-run restaurants. They also found some "dirty" unappetizing scenes.
In one Southeastern IHOP, a drain in the kitchen became clogged with grease. Many of the patrons had to share their "fresh and fruity" breakfast specials with unsightly tubes as restaurant managers had to deal with the major backflow of grease.
At TGI Fridays in New Orleans a customer saw a rodent run across the floor. Dateline obtained the health departments report, it revealed a health inspectors note that revealed the building had been rat infested for months.
Then there’s the horrible incident at Chili’s Restaurant in Vernon Hills, Illinois. June 2003, the diner operated an entire day with a broken water heater. For more than 10 hours there was no hot water for employees to clean their tables, wash the dishes or even wash their hands. 300 people became sick, nearly half were confirmed victims of salmonella poisoning.