When it comes to restaurants and cafes, there are many factors that determine just how successful they will be. Having delicious food, great customer service and a pleasant atmosphere are certainly important, but those are necessarily evident for potential first-time customers.

When people first walk up to a restaurant, there are typically two things they look at to make their decision about whether or not to ask for a table – the menu and the health inspector rating. While testo can't provide expert advice on appetisers and entrees, Testo's line of HACCP-certified digital thermometers and temperature data loggers can play a key role in earning top marks from health inspectors.

Why the grades matter

It should come as no surprise that diners expect their preferred restaurants to maintain optimal procedures for food safety, cleanliness and hygiene. In many areas, customers glean information about how clean dining establishments are through word of mouth and their own experiences. That is starting to change, thanks to greater transparency in health and safety inspections.

Prominently displayed inspection scores have a real impact on financial success.

Initiatives around the world and in Australia are putting restaurant and cafe grades out front for increased consumer visibility. In NSW, for instance, the Scores on Doors program encourages restaurants in participating local government areas to prominently display the results of their health and food safety inspections. While this is voluntary in NSW, it is compulsory in other areas. This is proving to have a real impact on the financial success of different eateries.

The NSW Food Authority notes that restaurants and cafes are likely to see an increase in their number of customers by posting high grades. As the program is still limited in scope, it will be a while before that is definitively seen. A study on restaurants in Los Angeles, however, suggests that claim holds merit.

Professor Phillip Leslie, an economist at Stanford University, examined the relationship between revenue and health inspection grades – which must be publicly displayed – in Los Angeles restaurants. The findings, as reported by The Economist, showed that the displayed grades certainly affected where diners chose to order their meals – restaurants with a C grade saw a 1 per cent decrease in revenue, while those with a B and A saw increases of 0.7 and 5.7 per cent, respectively. The 5 per cent jump in revenue increases between B-rated and A-rated restaurants shows that scores do carry weight with consumers.

How can restaurants increase their scores?

Overall cleanliness and safe food handling and storage procedures are vital areas of focus for any restaurant. The NSW Food Authority notes that there are five common issues that are found in restaurants, including:

  • A lack of adequate cover for stored food.
  • Hand-washing areas that are not up to standards.
  • Issues with pests.
  • Unclean food equipment and preparing locations.
  • Ensuring that food is kept at proper temperatures.
Proper temperature controls are essential for restaurants looking to improve their health scores.Proper temperature controls are essential for restaurants looking to improve their health scores.

Proper temperature management is particularly important for these grades; the Food Premises Assessment Report, which is used in determining health scores, contains two sections for temperature management. Restaurants are judged both on keeping food at proper temperatures and their ability to accurately measure those temperatures.

How can testo help?

Careful monitoring of temperatures in many areas around the kitchen, cool rooms and fridges is absolutely necessary for food safety. Tools for temperature control like the testo Saveris 2 WiFi data loggers can make those tasks stress-free for any establishment. The testo Saveris 2 allows for careful monitoring of temperatures by connecting data loggers through a secure cloud storage system. For added convenience, this data can be accessed from anywhere in the world from a PC, tablet or smartphone.

For more information about the Saveris 2 and other temperature control products, reach out to Testo today.