New York City Restaurateurs’ Dilemma – The New ABC Grading System is Effective July 1, 2010

New York City is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles County. In July 2010, The New York City Department of Health is planning on rolling out its new A, B, C Letter Grading System to score restaurants in the city on their food safety program which includes food protection, employee health and hygiene, physical cleanliness, as well as pest control.

But restaurateurs, have no fear, this is no big deal! Los Angeles has been giving letter grades to restaurants for over 12 years. The program not only increased compliance with the food safety regulations and laws within Los Angeles County restaurants, it also resulted in a decrease in the number of food-borne disease related hospitalizations drastically since the program was started (http://www.cspinet.org/dirtydining/HospitalizationsStudy.pdf).

Another positive factor New York Restaurateurs should see is how revenues at the A level restaurants in Los Angeles rose dramatically after the system was put in place. Restaurants earning an A grade saw an increase in revenue of over 5% the year after grade posting was required. Revenue in C graded restaurants however decreased by a modest 1% (http://www.stanford.edu/~pleslie/Jin and Leslie Choices 2005.pdf).

The New York City Department of Health has been inspecting restaurants bi-annually throughout the five boroughs for years and the results are open to the public but are only available online for interested diners to see. The new Grade System will require restaurateurs to post the Grade within reasonable eyesight to the main entrance, allowing every customer and passerby to see the grade as well.

The New York City grading scale is as follows: In order to receive an A, a restaurant must receive no more than 13 violation points. An inspection receiving anywhere from 14-27 violation points will earn a B. 28 or more violation points will earn a C and will require a re-inspection. In Los Angeles, the grading is slightly different, an A awarded for 0-10 violation points, B for 11-20 points and C awarded for 21-30 points. Anything higher than 30 points is simply a Score that requires a re-inspection or possible closure.

If New York City restaurants trend towards Los Angeles, expect the average inspection’s violation points to diminish once the program begins and trend closer to A range as it did in LA when the grading program began. For more information on the New York City Grading Program, visit the Department of Heath’s website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/rii/restaurant-grading-faq.pdf.

About EHA Consulting Group, Inc.

With numerous inspections each month in New York City alone, EHA’s clients have an average inspection score of 91. 82% of our clients have an average score that would fall in A range if the grading system in New York City were in place today. At EHA Consulting Group, we have been providing Public Health and Food Safety Consulting, including routine inspection services for retail food operations all over the country for over 35 years.

Our experienced team guides you through the ins and outs of your cities specific codes and laws to position your kitchen to receive the cleanest and highest possible score in your Health Department inspections. Why not let EHA come and discuss how we can help you achieve A status and help your operation continue its gold standard ways of doing business.