You're watching the kitchen from the order counter.
The guy who just prepped your chicken finger combo wasn't wearing gloves.
After you read this, you might be glad he wasn't.
In the Mid-South, only Mississippi requires restaurant workers who handle and prepare the food to wear kitchen gloves.
The reason is wearing gloves keeps workers from washing their hands. I've talked to health department officials and executive chefs who tell me gloves give a false sense of sanitized hands. Workers put them on AND KEEP THEM ON -- rarely changing them as they're cross-contaminated among raw food, cooked food and cooking surfaces.
Even worse, they take them off and put new ones on without washing their hands, contaminating the gloves before they even touch a single crouton for the Caesar salad.
That's why you never see chefs or their assistants wearing gloves at fancy restaurants. It's actually more sanitary NOT to wear gloves, but to instill a culture of hand hygiene, food separation and clean surfaces.
Hair restraints, different story. Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas each mandate hair restraints or head cover (hats, ball caps) on every restaurant worker who has a part in preparing food.