At the end of July, restaurants in New York City must begin posting their health inspection grades — A, B or C. I guess we’re to assume that a D or F rating will get the place closed, so there’s no reason to bother putting one of those grades out front. And besides, who would choose to eat in a restaurant that receives a failing health inspection?
Which of course is the point of having the restaurant post even the average and above ratings. The thought is that if a restaurant has to be upfront about its rating, it will strive to acheive the highest grade possible. Here’s a story from Food Safety News with more details.
I’m of two minds on this (there’s a surprise, huh?). On one hand, I like the idea of transparency. And an informed diner can make choices based on all the information available.
But there’s also the issue, at least with Florida restaurants, of the grading system itself. In Florida, the violations are categorized as critical and noncritical. The very word “critical” implies a crisis. But an example of a noncritical violation is not displaying a sign in the restroom that employees must wash hands. I think a missing sign is noncritical. Employees not washing their hands after using the restroom? Now that’s a critical violation.
Would it harm a restaurant if it had to display a notice that they’ve received a critical violation, even if that violation isn’t so critical? But on the other hand (two minds, remember?), wouldn’t that make the restaurant strive to do a better job, even if it’s something as mundane as posting a new sign?
Have a thought? Join me in the SJO Forum where I’ve started a discussion thread.