Are some kitchens that disgusting? Yep
Do people do things as seen in the documentary Waiting? Uh huh
Is there a health department? Sure. Depends on your area for standards.
I have worked in the cleanest of lines and the walk ins are pretty perfect (sometimes you get a lug of fruit that has a bad piece-it happens). It is up to the Chef and Owners to determine if product will be used.
Working in a small cafe, the owner determined that although 1 box of fresh eggs had been slightly frozen, they were to be used anyway. Many of the shells had cracked and IMHO thrown out. Salmonella any one?
Items left in the temperature danger zone is sadly all too common.
There are only a few places where I would eat at a buffet and a certain chain with the chocolate fountains is not one of them. Some folks do not grasp the whole double dipping (especially children) and so NO!
There was the chain restaurant where I worked that didn’t have a restroom for staff. I saw a waitress use a stall and then walk out without bothering to wash her hands. WHAT?????
The dark side of eating out, even at large corporate chains is scary.