Tim Zagat Weighs In on Restaurant Letter Grading in Times Op-Ed


It comes as no surprise that restaurants are unhappy with the Board of Health’s decision to force them to post their cleanliness inspection grades where they can be seen. But what does the founder of a different scoring system posted on storefronts throughout the city have to say about it? Tim Zagat of the Zagat guides says that those who believe the showcasing of letter grades will be a “black eye” to the industry are “woefully misguided.” He writes in a Times op-ed piece:

“This system can only benefit the restaurant industry, and the health board has been eminently reasonable in what it proposes to do. What’s more, the public overwhelmingly favors the idea. In a recent survey by my company, 83 percent of respondents said that they would like to have grades posted.”

He goes on to use Los Angeles an example of how the grading can be a boon not only to diners, but also to the industry, with restaurants earning an A associated with increased revenue. Besides, he points out, the grades are already available online. Detractors, like Mark Murphy of Landmarc, counter that the grades can be misleading to consumers. We’re not exactly talking “food, service, decor, and cost” here.