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There is a concept of "Eid echad ne'eman b'issurin" which means if a person testifies on something that is questionable we believe him. An example would be regarding kosher: if I go to a friend's house and he serves me chicken, and he tells me it's kosher, I'm allowed to take his word for it. So if a restaurant owner is an observant Jew, must he have a kosher certificate?

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Because he is making money –  YEZ Mar 27 at 18:18
    
He's a Nogea Bedovor –  sharshi Mar 27 at 18:19
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@YEZ Why should that matter? The homeowner also doesn't want his pot to be treif. –  Double AA Mar 27 at 18:55
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Do non-Jews or non-religious Jews work at this restaurant? –  Fred Mar 27 at 19:26

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I was told by R' Dovid Fink shlita that, speaking very generally, Ashkenazi poskim tend to require kosher certification, the reasoning being that the standards of kosher might be different from your own. Sefardi poskim, on the other hand, tend to consider a restaurant kosher if there is a visible observant Jew working there, exactly as you describe. As others have noted, though, there are many for-sure kosher restaurants that do not have independent certification that nobody would reasonably tell you to not eat at.

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How do you know who the restaurant owner is or if he is trustworthy? If you meet a stranger and he invites you to his house, how do you even know that he keeps kosher. It used to be that there were stores which everyone knew were kosher because of the reputation of the owner. Nowadays, stores are owned by people who may or may not be trustworthy (or adequately knowledgeable about kashrus). It is like picking up a product with a 'plain k' on it rather than an actual copyrighted kashrus logo (such as the OU).

Nowadays, there are people who claim to 'keep kosher' but do not really know what is or is not kosher.

Even if you know the owner and trust him, he would need to show a kashrus certification so that other customers who do not know him personally can be certain.

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A person has a chezkus kashrut, so even a stranger is ok –  David Feigen Mar 27 at 18:29
    
Maybe you met the owner and asked him? –  Double AA Mar 27 at 20:00
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It doesn't matter if I ever even met the guy every Jew unless proven otherwise has a chezkus kashrut –  David Feigen Mar 27 at 20:35
    
why are people less trustworthy nowadays? –  sharshi Mar 27 at 20:57
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@Backseat Chazan Consider that it is 'normal' that people will violate Shabbat with no qualms, that they will have no hesitation in selling non-kosher food (or eating it themselves) and that it is no longer a rarity to find a store that is open on Shabbat. As a result, we cannot accept a person at random as a kosher aid. In actuality, the whole point of certification is that we know that the certifier is both trustworthy and has the knowledge to determine what subtleties might be addressed. I have seen people claim that something is Kosher because they do not know the halacha properly. –  sabbahillel Mar 27 at 22:02

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