So, after writing this blog for however long its been, I think this is probably my first actually useful post.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a delivery from a bit of a shithole. That little green Food Hygiene rating sticker in the window. Proudly displaying a 2 (Improvement Necessary). On my arrival, the “chef” took two tubs of curry out of the fridge. Into the microwave they went and 1 and a half minutes later out they came and into an inside out Tesco bag they went. Now call me a snob, but I probably wouldn’t eat food from an establishment like that.

When I arrived at the customers address, it was a nice big house. A BMW on the drive and a very pleasant man took the order. Obviously its awful to judge a book by its cover, but… He didn’t look like the sort of guy who would happily pay £6 for a microwaved curry from a kitchen with unsatisfactory hygiene.

That’s where the problem lies, Deliveroo et al offer restaurants a way to hide their food hygiene rating. Now, I don’t think this is an active decision taken by delivery companies. I think its just an oversight by the government, they just can’t keep up with the changes.

If you want to find a restaurants Food Hygiene Rating you have to click through far too many links.

Maybe you’ll take an extra 30 seconds to click through the links each time you want to try a new restaurant. But what about the KFC issue?

Cardiff is lucky (?) enough, to be served by three KFC restaurants. However when you look up their Food Hygiene ratings you’ll be a bit stumped. No address means no way to identify which restaurant is which. If you’re ordering your food from a laptop its okay because they show the address. But if you’re ordering on the app your best hope is guessing the address from a map image.

On a similar note, there are a number of “virtual brands” popping up. This is mentioned at the bottom of the menu in the Restaurant notes, but its easy to miss. These virtual restaurants don’t have their own Food Hygiene Ratings as they use their parent restaurants facilities. FYI…

  • Frankie & Benny’s runs Birdbox
  • Las Iguanas runs Blazing Bird
  • Cafe Rouge runs Chef & Rooster and Stack & Grill
  • Bella Italia runs Mac Shack

Businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland are legally required to display their ratings in a prominent place, such as the front door, entrance or window of the premises

Personally I don’t think these labours are anyway equivalent to a rating being in a prominent place. Unfortunately it seems the representative from Shared Regulatory Services isn’t too bothered. Claiming “The consumer has to take responsibility alongside the food business”

If we all take responsibility and diligently waste time searching for Food Hygiene ratings the problem won’t be solved. We can search by name or by postcode. Of the 148 restaurants delivering to my house over the last week:

  • 8 are “virtual” restaurants, but we’ve discussed those.
  • 23 use a name on Deliveroo that is noticeably different to the one registered with the FSA.
  • 9 list a postcode on Deliveroo that is different to the one in the FSA database.
  • 6 have no postcode at all registered with the FSA.
  • 1 just doesn’t exist in the FSA database!

Now, you might be thinking, who need FSA ratings when you’ve got the Deliveroo customer ratings. The customer ratings really don’t seem to work. Now none of this is statistically significant, but I’ll mention it anyway.

By the looks of things, if you want a high customer rating on Deliveroo, be cheap and have poor hygiene. Less facetiously, it looks like there is little or no motivation for restaurants to improve their Food Hygiene.

It’s unfair to blame this on Deliveroo or any other delivery company. Everyone loves to give them a kicking, but they’re running a profitable business within the current rules. For Food Hygiene Ratings to be more than just a token effort their use should be enforced across all outlets.

Until next time, if you want me to advise you on making Food Hygiene Ratings work, hire me?

P.S. Here’s the list of all the restaurants who would deliver to me over the last week. All information correct on 29/12/2018