Like a high schooler hiding that C+ in algebra from mom and dad, many of the city's restaurants are concealing their Health Department grade from would-be diners. The Daily News reveals that 1,356 restaurants were fined over the past year by the Health Department for camouflaging or not displaying their inspection grades. Of the deceptive dining spots, 745 had received "C" grades and 581 received "B" grades, leaving 30 over-achievers hiding their "A" grades... presumably because they thought they deserved an A+?
Knowing that some diners might pass by an establishment with a poor grade, some restaurants take the risk of fine over the potential loss of a customer. “I’d rather take the fine than place (the C) up there.” explained Thomas Mak, manager of Williamburg's Juniper. "It would have ruined my business." Other restaurants cited more dog-ate-my-homework excuses, like letter grades getting lost in the mail or patrons pilfering the grades from out of the windows.
Still others refused to display their grades as a kind of protest against the grading system in general. “There are many business owners who don’t like the stigma associated with letter grades, period," head of New York City Hospitality Alliance Andrew Regie told the News.
Restaurants have been hiding their bad grades pretty much from the beginning of the program, despite potential fines of $1,000. Eating in a clean establishment is nice, but isn't it sometimes better just not to know?