High-scoring restaurants keen to display hygiene rating

July 11th, 2013 Category: Building Management

A growing number of businesses are advertising the fact that they score highly in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), a new survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed.

Research carried out by the body revealed that there has been a significant increase in the amount of restaurants, bars and cafes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland notifying customers that they score in the top two rating on the scheme.

Businesses are graded on a scale of zero to five, with five being the highest. The proportion of firms scoring between zero and two that are informing customers of the low score remains low, the FSA research also found.

It conducted an audit at the start of the year which found a greater proportion of high-scoring firms are putting up stickers and signs, helping the overall number of business displaying an FHRS rating rising to approximately half compared to 2011-12 levels. In England, the figure rose from 43 per cent to 52 per cent, in Wales from 31 per cent to 47 per cent and in Northern Ireland from 50 per cent to 57 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the FSA Catriona Stewart said having the ratings on display can help sway consumers, many of whom "make spontaneous decisions about where to eat".

"It’s encouraging to see that the number of businesses displaying the top two ratings is going up," she added.

The FSA also conducted telephone interviews with the businesses involved in the audit to ascertain their reasons behind displaying the rating. The majority said they did so because they were proud of their score and to improve customers' perception of their company. 

Those who were not displaying the information cited the fact that it is not mandatory to do so and a dislike of the scheme as two of their main reasons.

Ms Stewart noted there is "still a way to go" before the system is widely adopted, urging more businesses to use the ratings to demonstrate they "take food hygiene seriously".