Foodservice Equipment Reports

Higher Grades, Cleaner Restaurants In NYC?

Most New York restaurants are getting top marks under the year-old letter-grading system that the city’s Health Dept. uses to evaluate food safety and cleanliness. Department officials say 69% of restaurants inspected had received A's as of July 1. Meanwhile, 15% scored B's and 4% have C's, the lowest mark. The remaining 12% are contesting their scores.

"The goal was transparency and food safety and I think the grades really speak for themselves," Susan Craig, a health department spokeswoman, told The Wall Street Journal.

Close to 90% of the city's estimated 24,000 eateries have been inspected since the program began last summer. The restaurants must prominently post grades, which are based on routine health inspections of food safety and cleanliness.

Despite all the high marks, many operators—even A-listers—complained to the Journal that they are being inspected and fined more often.  They call the inspection program a money machine for the city’s coffers. The amount collected in fines has skyrocketed to $42.4 million in the fiscal year that ended last month, from $32.7 million in the previous fiscal year.

However, the Journal reported that food-poisoning complaints—which helped prompt the letter grades—have stayed relatively flat since the system began compared to the previous four fiscal years. One barbecue-loving customer told the Journal that he didn’t mind eating at restaurants with lower grades. All barbecue restaurants, he said, “should be a little dirty.”