Certainly, Hollywood has painted a very graphic image of why we need ethics in the restaurant business due to intentional efforts to taint food. Regrettably, the behavior of individual employees vandalizing people’s food is a real concern; however, the ethical implications go beyond what a server or chef does to someone’s food. Chain restaurants like McDonald’s have redefined the logistics of the restaurant business, thus ethical considerations also include social issues that impact communities around the world.
Where a restaurant purchases its food can directly impact the lifestyles of both its customers and communities throughout the world. By focusing solely on price for a certain acceptable degree of quality, large chain diners like McDonald’s can encourage unhealthy food production methods. Not only does this undermine the quality of all food by forcing a certain price onto producers, it can also devastate an ecosystem. Beef and pork, for example, can be produced cheaper, but at great costs to society.
Forced to honor lower prices, farmers must find ways of increasing production and decreasing costs. This most likely means diminishing the quality of meat and produce by focusing efforts on quantity versus quality. To do this, more chemical pesticides, artificial fertilizers, hormones, and steroids are used. Meanwhile, undercutting wages as well as promoting unsafe work practices may also be necessary. Sadly, a community that can offer products at lower prices must embrace corporate farms instead of sustainable farming, thus they are economically devastated while their environment is severely damaged.
Outside of developed nations like the United States, these practices can result in increased poverty and, even, slavery. It is the ripple effect felt by the world caused by the restaurant business, when they as a group or as individual corporations purchase colossal amounts of food at lower prices, that gives them power over our economies. Once unhealthy trends begin in the restaurant business, the fallout will affect the customers of that business, yet it will also affect all consumers and producers by improperly pricing or devaluing the quality of food.
Moreover, ethics in the restaurant revolve around the role it plays in society. Certainly, restaurants impact health issues when they promote the spread of illness or bolster unhealthy lifestyles, but their influence goes beyond what harm might befall their customers. Probably the most noticeable impact is on how en masse trends in the restaurant industry can influence food production, consumption, and agriculture across the globe.