amNewYork features State Senator Jeff Klein's letter grading idea for restaurants on its cover. In the wake of the media capturing rats running around a KFC-Taco Bell that had just passed a health inspection, the Health Department has been under fire.
Klein thinks seeing a letter grade and having it posted prominently for prospective diners to see would be much more helpful than the current system. Klein said, ""Having a letter grade posted for all diners to see will provide a real incentive for dirty restaurants to clean up their acts. I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat an establishment with an 'F' hanging in the doorway." But what about those thrill-seeking delinquent diners?
Anyway, the Health Department told AMNY, "A grading system for restaurants does not accurately depict the cleanliness of a restaurant over time. Our system lets New Yorkers see the actual list of violations and decide whether they want to eat at a particular restaurant. And our scoring system weighs more heavily those violations that are most likely to make a customer sick."
Well, it's not like Klein is telling the Health Department to lose the awesome Restaurant Inspection Results online. But we don't think a straight letter grade is very clear. Maybe there needs to be a simple three-part system showing diners how the restaurant scores in certain areas: Food handling, Overall cleanliness, and Overall facility maintenance, maybe.
The Health Department already issues Golden Apples to restaurant that are super clean - no "critical violations and have four or fewer general violations (totaling no more than eight 'points') during their past two annual inspections."