For some restaurant managers, owners, and chefs - all under extreme pressure to turn a profit - it can be tempting to sub expensive ingredients for a cheaper alternative. However, misleading patrons to earn a quick buck is never worth the risk to your reputation.
Food fraud, occurs in grocery stores and restaurants nationwide. From misleading labels (does that olive oil really meet the extra-virgin standard?) to cheap substitutions for expensive products (looking at you, truffle oil), dubious restaurants and manufacturers can often pull a fast one by subbing lower quality or fake ingredients for the real deal.
And while it may seem intuitive to consumers that a dish like lobster bisque should contain at least some lobster, investigative reporting often reveals the truth. Last year, Inside Edition visited 28 restaurants serving lobster bisque and sent samples off to a lab to carry out DNA tests. The experiment showed that one-third of the samples contained no lobster at all - and many contained a mix with other cheaper fish.
For the offending restaurants, the results were damaging. Offenders were explicitly named and the owners were questioned, often delivered unsatisfactory explanations for the mislabeled food. Both local restaurants and national chains took a hit to their reputation.
Dishonesty is a horrible business practice, and yet it's not just because you might get caught. While it may seem like it would be hard to tell the difference, lower quality ingredients are less satisfying. In today's connected world, we should all beware the bad Yelp review! Building a loyal customer base means delivering the best ingredients every time.
Honesty is most certainly always the best policy when it comes to business.
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