San Francisco Restaurants Don't Want to be Graded

A proposal to assign letter grades to SF restaurants for their sanitation is meeting with hostility from the restaurant association, as well as individual restaurants.


A grade other than “A” will turn diners away? Well, GET SCRUBBING! I don’t care if it’s a national chain such as Burger King or Denny’s or a little neighborhood “joint” where nobody can speak or read English. Clean is clean, and dirty is dirty.

For now, SF Department of Public Health reports are available online so you can grade them on your own.

Maybe they don’t want to give restaurants grades because they’re afraid that it will harm the self esteem of the restaurants that are dumber. :wink:

In Alabama, the health scores of each restaraunt are posted where everyone can see–usually above the cash register. It has the standard report, with the numerical score written and circled in big black sharpie.

How is this any different?

In Los Angeles, restaurants have had to prominently display the letter grades showing their sanitation rating for a few years now.

You hardly ever see anything other than “A”. That’s because any grade less than an “A” IS like a scarlet letter that DOES turn diners away. A restaurant that gets a grade of less than “A” usually cleans up really fast, or goes out of business.

Just about everyone in the city thinks this is great, and there certainly is no shortage of restaurants in L.A.


So what? IMHO, food safety is a binary condition, i.e., the food preparation is either sanitary, or unsanitary. “Ethnicity” or “cultural standards” are completely irrelavant.

Of course, we are talking about SF, so :rolleyes:

Restaurant inspection notices are displayed prominently around here also. Hell, sidewalk cart vendors are inspected.* Those who flunk inspection are listed in the newspaper. It’s not unknown for local news to carry it either. (And yes, we have quite a few mom & pop ethnic restaurants, especially Mexican and Vietnamese.)

I don’t recall a single stand-alone restaurant being nailed. All of them were chain outlets. IIRC, there was a Ground Round and a Fazoli’s in the last bunch.

Sorry, I have no sympathy for this one. Basic sanitation and responsible food handling don’t have a damned thing to do with ethnicity or being a small operation. It’s rather insulting to assume otherwise, in fact. This idea really is pitching for the lowest common denominater. It wouldn’t serve (so to speak) the eating public OR the restaurant business well.

  • My Rotary club operates a food booth, with profits for charity, at our local summer fair. Better believe health inspectors check us out, repeatedly and randomly. For what, you ask? Servers and preparers wearing plastic gloves, thermometers for holding food at safe temps, work surfaces and implements cleaned with disinfectants, food kept protected from flies, etc. It’s pretty basic stuff, and not really all that hard, even in a large tent.

Hell the restaurants in San Mateo County (SF’s southern border) are graded, often right on the front door.

There’s always a certain amount of dirt and potentially dangerous microorganisms in food, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. You have to decide how much risk you want to accept, and risk acceptance is influenced heavily by culture. If you have a county health department deciding certain practices are unacceptable, you can argue that such standards are culturally based.

Which does not make them invalid. In some cultures, it’s OK to beat your wife, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it here.

What the restaurants are saying is that (1) some cultures are less sanitary than Americans, and (2) a community shouldn’t be allowed to set its own culturally based standards. A white American would be absolutely roasted for saying (1), and you can only say (2) if the culture in question is white American.

I would be much more receptive to objections like, “The Health Department uses unscientific means of determining what practices are risky”, or “The standards are not being applied uniformly.”

Marvin Zindler? I haven’t lived in Houston for a few years, so he may not be around anymore. He was a TV news reporter who inspected restaurants. His segment was very popular because he would give a list of faults usually ending with “…and slime in the ice machine!!!” This was a catch phrase used for many other gross situations. One of my favorite local fast food places had a certificate proclaiming they had passed an inspection by Marvin Zindler. :slight_smile:

What kind of crypto-racist stuff is this?

“Ethnic” people are not clean? Says who?