The rumors came in November: The Roost had undergone a health inspection and failed. It underwent a new inspection soon afterwards.
The rumor that the workers failed to wash their hands at The Roost spread on the Wildfire app and students soon began to share their various experiences with the popular dining spot. However, after further investigation, it turns out that the results of The Roost’s actual health inspection in Nov. 2019 were considerably more benign than the rumors had indicated.
The Spokane Regional Health District’s report did state that the workers at The Roost washed their hands, unlike the false information that had been circling EWU’s campus. Instead, the report stated that “the back-handwashing sink near the dishes was blocked by several carts, corrected by moving the cart to allow access to the handwashing sink.”
This is something that happens in a cramped kitchen space during rush hours when students are being served. However, the blocked sink was only one of five sinks on the premises. Workers were washing their hands in the others instead.
As for the sink that was blocked, the wheeled cart was easily removed from the area. This problem has been mentioned in past reports as well, but it is an easy one to fix.
“It’s so small, but it cost us $190 for the (inspector) to come back out to make sure that we’re not blocking a handwashing sink with our cart,” says Justin Harris, the manager of The Roost.
Another problem mentioned in the report was the placement of the fresh produce while it was being stored. The inspector included this note: “Observed unwashed peppers being stored above ready-to eat sliced tomatoes. Corrected by placing unwashed produce below and away from ready-to-eat products.” This problem was fixed immediately and did not cause enough concern for the inspector to return for that specific issue.
Food inspections occur at least once a year at all EWU food establishments. Every two years the inspector is changed in order to prevent the facility from getting used to one inspector. All inspections are “snapshots of the food handling at the time of the inspection,” according to the health district’s website. The inspection reports for The Roost are posted on Spokane Regional Health District’s website.
Every student working in The Roost must have a Food Worker Card as well as attend ServeSafe training. In ServeSafe training, the workers must learn about food safety, personal hygiene, the importance of sanitation and other food safety practices.
David McKay, director of dining services said, “What’s really important is that we take good health practices really seriously.”
Students who work at The Roost tend to be sophomores and freshmen. For many, this is their first job, and they are learning while serving their fellow classmates. Harris recognized that students may make mistakes, but he feels that it is his job to educate them and help them grow.
“It’s a constant training for students,” Harris said.
McKay said that The Roost relies on its student customers in order to stay in business. Therefore, it would be helpful if students could directly let the manager know if there is an issue with their food or experience at The Roost. There are comment cards next to the register for students to fill out about their suggestions and experiences at The Roost.
The Roost is also open to new ideas and menu items, Harris said. Recently, The Roost has come out with new options for students such as chicken and waffles, mashed potatoes and the brownie sundae. It has adopted breakfast foods and aims to continue developing its new menu.
Harris would also like to remind students that social media is not always the best news source and that anything off these platforms should be verified by the consumer. Rumors like these can be taken out of context or blown up to create sensationalism. Harris also asks that people come to him if they have an issue with their food.
“We’ll fix it. We’ll do what we can. … We don’t know about it unless someone comes to us,” -Justin Harris, Manager of The Roost