The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
In New York City, the pressure for a restaurant to do well on its health inspection couldn’t be greater — a bad grade, or even a less-than-ideal “B,” can drive business to the ground.
Enter Letter Grade Consulting, an independent consulting agency that charges restaurants between $250 and $400 a month to get places in tip-top shape for their upcoming, surprise inspection.
Like the city’s health department, LGC considers it part of the job to show up unannounced, to review a restaurant’s hygiene. The company is one of a number of new businesses that have sprung up since the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene introduced letter grades a few years ago.
“You can’t survive with a B on your window,” Letter Grade co-founder Rada Tarnovsky told the New York Times. “You have to have an A. We live in New York City. You can just cross the street to eat at an A place.”
Just like the health department, Tarnovsky’s inspectors — most of whom formerly worked for the health department — spot check every detail of the kitchen. A mouse was discovered during one recent LGC inspection, but the restaurant passed its next real inspection, the company told the Times.
Among the things LGC and its peer companies teaches restauranteurs is how to stay calm in the presence of an official inspector. “Department of health inspectors, they react to unnecessary panic,” LGC’s Leon Lubarsky said.