By Andy Sambidge
Five-star hotel restaurants ask diners to sign legal waiver for beef served anything but well-done.
Restaurants at a hotel chain in the UAE have started to serve an unusual side dish with its beef patties served anything less than well-done - a legal document.
The five-star Shangri-La Hotel chain, which has hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, says the document is meant to discourage customers from ordering rare or partially rare hamburgers and to protect the hotel from “any consequences that may result due to the consumption” of such meat.
“We just want to make sure that we serve the best quality food and the safest,” said Neil Rumbaoa, the director of communications at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai in UAE daily The National on Tuesday. “And so if it’s rare, obviously there are factors that will contribute to how safe the food is.”
While hotel officials said diners who order medium or medium-rare burgers were not required to waive their rights in writing, waiters were normally obliged to ask diners to give their verbal consent to indemnify the hotel from legal action.
After that, the waiter is required to note the name of the guest, the temperature of the meat and the time at which it was served in the restaurant’s logbook for future reference.
Eating rare or raw ground beef carries the risk of illness from pathogenic strains of bacteria, mostly variants of the E.coli species. Thoroughly cooking the meat reduces the risk of infection to almost nil.
Suggest that this kind of disclaimer be built into your check-in registration form hard copy and on line registration as well. The table service is not the place to require guests to sign disclaimers and waivers....we are hospitality...or we are not.
They shouldn't offer medium or rare hamburgers in the first place. Only steaks can be cooked medium, rare or blue because bacteria remain on the outside of the meat and will be killed by the cooking process. In a burger, the meat is minced, meaning bacteria will be evenly distributed throughout the burger, and the only way to ensure it is safe is to cook it as 'well done'. I like a rare steak (it's less chewy), but a rare burger won't have any meaningful difference in taste or texture from a well done burger because of the mincing process. Only a poser orders a 'rare' burger and thinks they're being sophisticated - a good case of botulism would teach 'em a lesson!
This is as silly as it appears. If you have even a single doubt that rare meat is harmful for customer, you shouldn't serve it and won't give any option to customers. That's all!