In a 2014 op-ed in Crain’s, “Restaurant grading system overcooked,” we argued the way the city issues letter grades to restaurants was arbitrary and unfair.
Unfortunately the Department of Health still hasn’t implemented sensible regulatory reforms to the system, despite issuing a record number of A letter grades. Now the City Council is stepping in to do so. The council held a public hearing last month on a bill to reform the letter grade process. The legislation will provide consistency and apply the same due process to the initial inspection that is used by all other agencies that issue violations, and even by the Department of Health during its re-inspection process.
If this standard had been applied when we published our op-ed nearly three years ago, approximately 2,000 restaurants that successfully contested their inspector’s allegations in 2014 alone would have been awarded an A grade in the first place, sparing them and the Department of Health the time and expense of re-inspections. The agency could have instead focused on re-inspecting restaurants that pose a real risk to public health, not A-grade establishments…
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Andrew Rigie is executive director and Rob Bookman is counsel of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, an independent trade group representing restaurants, bars and clubs.