Restaurant inspections, which are usually conducted by city or county health departments, vary across the country in frequency and in how scores are computed and citations are handled. Most, however, include surprise inspections and cite restaurants for high-risk violations, such as a refrigerator’s temperature not being set at the proper level or staffers using the same cutting board to make salad and handle raw chicken.
In recent years, dozens of city and county health departments have been posting restaurant inspection results on government websites to share with the public. Turning to Yelp or other social media, or using crowd-sourced information to increase public awareness, is the next logical step, some officials say.
“Yelp is a window into the restaurant. The restauranteurs don’t want a bad (health) score on Yelp. They’ll be more attentive about getting the restaurants cleaned up and safer,” said Rajiv Bhatia, former environmental health director for the San Francisco Department of Public Health.