Many restaurateurs have an unspoken code of ethics that governs how they run their businesses. Formal codes of ethics do exist in the industry, but are more typically found at the corporate level. These rules govern situations for high-level executives such as gift giving, conflicts of interest and insider trading. In the absence of a formal code, a few general rules of conduct do exist for individuals at the service level.
One of the most important issues for restaurants is serving untainted food. Restaurants should only sell food made in kitchens that adhere to a high standard of sanitation, says the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association, or PRA. Where matters of food sanitation are concerned, the customers' best interest should be the deciding factor.
Restaurant owners and employees should conduct themselves in a professional manner that reflects the attitude of the establishment they are working in, the PRA says. Maintaining a high level of integrity at the personal and business levels is a key factor in presenting a professional level of service.
Restaurant owners should strive to improve the quality of service delivered at their business. Improving employee skill sets with new techniques for personal service and food preparation will ensure quality of service and value for customers.
Restaurant owners have a responsibility to the community that they operate in, the PRA says. Owners and their employees should participate in community organizations that supports their business.
Ethical Attitudes and Behavior
The PRA requires that its members represent the food services industry, themselves, their business and the association in a professional and ethical manner. This part of their code of ethics is meant to encourage ethical behavior that fosters an environment of personal and professional development that is beneficial for all members.