Restaurant Law Blog

Friday, February 1, 2013

Yelp to Add Health Department Letter Grades to Restaurant Reviews

In the next several weeks, the popular review site www.Yelp.com will integrate the Department of Health’s letter grading system into its restaurant customer reviews. Potential patrons will now be able to read about a restaurant’s best dish alongside its inspection history – without ever having to go to the Department of Health’s own site.

While the Department of Health seems to be applauding this new development, restaurant owners are not so enthusiastic, and rightfully so. As anyone in the restaurant business knows, the letter grading system affects business in a big way. The difference between an “A” grade and a “C” grade can be the difference between a packed Saturday night dinner service and an empty dining room. With so many restaurant options to choose from in New York City, many customers feel they should not have to settle for less than the best. Customers do not have to consider that health inspections are often flawed; instead, they can simply look at a letter grade and make a quick decision: to dine, or not to dine?

The New York Restaurant Association has been fighting the letter grading system since the system’s inception, but it is obvious that letter grades are not going anywhere any time soon. With sites like Yelp making access to these grades easier, it is more important now than ever for restaurants to handle their health code violations quickly and efficiently.   If you need assistance in fighting a violation you received, please call our office for a free consultation. 



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