Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Why is there resistance against grading of restaurants by the industry? A perfectly innocent move on the part of the safety authorities in metropolitan areas where there is mushrooming of eating joints, it is becoming a controversial issue. The consumers feel that they have a right to know what type of restaurant they are entering before taking a decision on patronizing a eating joint and while the sensory quality may be acceptable, the safety apprehension always weighs in the mind. A restaurant with good credentials for the quality of foods served should also have reliability in terms of cleanliness and hygiene in kitchen as well as serving areas. The grading seeks to fulfill such a need. It is also intended to be an initiative for those with lower grades to climb up the ladder and reach the highest level with improvements in areas found to be inadequate. Looking from the caterer's point of view, omnipotence of Internet access and information sourcing technology make it possible to get the past safety violation record making it impossible for such players to regain their credibility.

"But while health department officials have only begun the yearlong process of assigning the grades, a potentially more powerful — and, restaurateurs say, misleading — tool is already in use: a health department Web site that has made a wealth of older inspection data easily accessible. Suddenly, a restaurant's past lapses are at the fingertips of patrons, who can call up a quick roster of not only the top-scoring places, but also the lowest-ranked — including details of some health violations that may have been remedied, and some that would no longer be considered violations under the new inspection rules. People who "take the time to go on the Web site will certainly get the wrong impression as to what a restaurant, if they were inspected in June or April or May, what the real score would be" under the new system, said Jeremy Merrin, who owns three Havana Central restaurants in Manhattan. Although much of the information has been available for several years on the Web site of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the new site ( allows much easier and more refined searches, by elements like ZIP code, cuisine or the first letter of a restaurant name. It allows searches by the range of scores. There is even a pop-up window called a widget that other consumer Web sites, like OpenTable or, can post to link to the search engine".

Just because it would hurt a few restaurants does not mean that the grading system should be abandoned because a vast majority of hotels are law abiding by nature and it is in their own interest that they provide clean and safe foods to their customers. If there is a need to safeguard the interests of all it may be prudent to make past records inaccessible by using an appropriate software. In the restaurant business it is generally difficult to survive if good and clean foods are not served and grading will only improve the standing of any restaurant attracting more customers. Therefore grading system must not only be introduced in urban areas in all countries, especially those which receive appreciable tourist populations but also made compulsory to display the Grade prominently at the entrance itself for easy comprehension. .


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