A requirement that would see all pubs that serve food to publish their food hygiene ratings on the door or in another easy to see spot place on the premises.
This rule is already in force in Wales. One licensee
from Hay-on-Wye was recently ordered to pay £790 for failing to display his two out of five rating.
The scheme, dubbed ‘scores on the doors,’ has proved a big success in Wales and helped drive up standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways. But with a majority of consumers
reporting that they would snub an eatery with a poor rating if they knew about it, many pubs could be in serious jeopardy – particularly as many pubs attempt to refocus away from wets to a more food-led service.
At present in England, there are no rules compelling establishments that serve food to display their food hygiene rating. Eateries with four or five star ratings from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will usually display their rating with pride. But those who have a rating of two or less will rarely advertise their rating.
There are indications, though, that the rules devised in Wales could be coming to England. And pubs that serve food need to make sure that they are prepared.
The FSA’s strategy
for 2015-2020 highlights that they want to extend the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings to outlets in England. They finished a first consultation earlier this year and anticipate a more thorough consultation to begin late this year.
And with council budget stretched, there is no guarantee that an eatery with a bad rating will be able to get a new inspection before the new rules come in. So restaurants must take steps to clear up their act now.
Even if the so-called ‘scores on the doors’ rules don’t come into effect any time soon. Pubs still need to be aware, because all of the scores are published freely, and in an easy to search way on the FSA website
Poor hygiene scores are now also reported widely in local and regional newspapers. So even if you aren’t forced to display your hygiene score on site there is still a high likelihood that one of your customers will see it. There is scarcely a week goes by that a regional newspaper doesn’t publish a breakdown of all of the most unhygienic eateries in an area. And they are widely read too. This particular story
from the Liverpool Echo was shared on social media nearly 8,000 times.
Some shocking pubs with ZERO hygiene ratings
In England, there are more than 1,000 pubs, bars and clubs with a rating of one or less and more than 100 of these venues have been awarded a ZERO rating.
The FSA says that these premises require urgent improvement if they are to remain open. And there are some quite unexpected names on the list.
Normally chain pubs and restaurants are quite good at passing these inspections. Wetherspoons pubs, for example, usually have very high food safety ratings because everything is systemised. One exception to this rule of thumb, however, is Brewdog in Birmingham.
This trendy bar near the city’s newly regenerated major train station received a zero rating in February of this year, they’re still boasting about their food though.
The Scillonian Club, Isles of Scilly
Another unlikely zero scorer is the Scillonian Club. Situated on one of the picturesque Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, this club is very popular with tourists and has a lot of great reviews on Trip Advisor.
It is a prime example of a pub that could be damaged if they were forced to publish their score on the door.
Who’d a Thought It Pub, Wiltshire
This rather appropriately named pub, in leafy Wiltshire has close to five star rating on Trip Advisor. But received a zero rating for its food hygiene back in March.
Oh the irony.