Tuesday Morning - Can You Trust Your Bartender?
A couple of weeks ago in a statewide action, over 100 investigators raided 29 bars and restaurants in New Jersey charging them with suspicion of serving cheap alcohol disguised as premium brands.
The year-long investigation dubbed Operation Swill uncovered some practices even more odious than that. One bar was mixing rubbing alcohol with caramel food coloring and selling it as Scotch whisky. Another was brazenly pouring dirty water into a whiskey bottle and selling it.
The Attorney General described the investigation in a press conference:
The 29 locations covered just about every area of the state with an added surprise. The Star-Ledger reported:
Thirteen of the establishments identified were TGI Fridays franchises operated by the Briad Group, a Livingston-based hospitality company. TGI Friday's corporate offices in Texas said today that the accusations are "very disturbing."
"If accurate, they would represent a violation of our company's values and our extensive bar and beverage standards which are designed to deliver the highest guest experience in our restaurants," the company said in a statement. "We have zero tolerance for actions that undermine the trust of our guests and call into question the reputation we have built up over the past 48 years."
Briad operates 70 TGI Fridays across the country, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York. They also run 42 Wendy's in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as Marriott and Hilton hotels, the Corner Bakery shops, Cups yogurt stores, Zinburger locations, and the Promenade Shops at Clifton.
Briad president Rick Barbrick said today that the allegations are "troubling and surprising to us."
I'll bet they are troubled. The fact that so many of the naughty bars were from that one franchisee's stable suggests that somebody in Briad's regional office went rogue on them. But if it's going on in New Jersey, it's probably been going on in other states, too. Watering down drinks is an age-old practice, but literally poisoning the customer used to be rare. Read the entire article from the Star-Ledger HERE.
You will probably notice that they didn't bother checking the coffee carafes from the Bunn-O-Matics. Nobody would dare to mess with that.
Before we investigate our coffee practices, let's get the equipment checked out for today. I'll see you back in the day room in a little while.
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