Restaurant Inspection Standardization is Needed
The public is expecting transparency and access. In NYC during July 2011 and January 2012, surveys showed among those who had seen grade cards, 88% considered them in their dining decisions. A 2019 survey among 1,188 Minnesota residents showed 94.4% wanted better access to restaurants’ inspection information. More than three-quarters (77.1%) would use this information to decide where to eat.
Some jurisdictions are meeting the expectation of restaurant inspection standardization. Many entire states have embraced the idea of openly sharing data and now offer website access to the public, listing scores or grades: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia. Some larger counties, and cities are following the trend.
Yet there are problems.
The is alarming food code adoption and report card variance. Only 29 jurisdictions have adopted the 2013/2017 food code as of 12/31/2019. The probability of a near perfect score varies from 13% to nearly 100% in some jurisdictions. The cited violation frequency varies. And a common restaurant owner complaint is that inspection quality varies depending upon the inspector. Inspection frequency and timing varies depending upon the jurisdiction.
This makes it challenging for the Hospitality Industry.
Comparison of corporate inspection data across jurisdictions is difficult. This creates confusion for multi-jurisdictional owners. Then there is the inability to create improvement metrics and ultimately process improvement is crippled.
Restaurant Inspection Standardization is Needed.
Lack of standardization makes it is difficult for the consumer to find Health Department Inspections. There are multiple website search strategies. Where does the consumer go for information when traveling? How do they interpret multiple public window displays? A small study asking the question, “Where to do you obtain (restaurant food safety) information from?” showed the lack of consistency in consumer search strategies.
Finally it is difficult for the consumer to understand the information provided because of multiple, inconsistent scoring systems with confusing and redundant definitions.
So, it becomes critical for a excellent food establishment to stand out any way it can.
What is your business doing to stand out? Want more?