Hey, you want a government program that actually works? How about requiring all restaurants to post their hygiene letter grades on a big poster at the main entrance, the way they do down in SoCal?
“In 1998, the County of Los Angeles set out to create a report card grading the hygiene of all restaurants. Phillip Leslie, associate professor of strategic management at Stanford GSB, saw the new law as an opportunity to study the effects of information on consumers and on market outcome. “We wanted to look at how responsive consumers were to that information and whether that translated to responsiveness by restaurants to improve product quality,” says Leslie.
“What he found was overwhelming evidence that not only did consumers change their behavior once the ratings became public by frequenting restaurants with better scores, but restaurants also improved their hygiene levels. And he saw an additional benefit: fewer hospitalizations due to food-related illnesses. “We found that better information causes a change in the behavior of restaurants and consumers, and resulted in an improvement in public health,” says Leslie.
Now that you’re up to speed, here’s the kicker:
He also found the new system had an apparent impact on restaurant-goers’ health. Leslie studied data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development detailing the number of people admitted to hospitals with specific illnesses. What he found was that hospital admissions for food-related illnesses fell 13 percent from the previous year for people living in Los Angeles, while they rose 3.2 percent in the rest of state. Overall, there were 20 percent fewer food-related hospitalizations in LA than the area would have been expected to experience if the grades had not been introduced.
Now, do you think that San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and/or any of his appointed minions, like Gavin Newsom or Ed Lee, think that this kind of letter grade requirement would be good for San Francisco? IDK. But so far nobody has dared to defy the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which super doesn’t want letter grades posted for tout le monde to see, even though such a requirement would boost sales overall, and have an even greater benefit for those who don’t skirt the rules set out by SFGov.
But I digress.
Hey, here are the new deets for SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT WEEK. (Or take a look at this well-reported Annie Sciacca bit from last month, if you want the complete history.)
The GGRA has taken over “Dine About Town” from the local tourist organization and this is going to CHANGE EVERYTHING? OK, maybe, we’ll see.
The top price for this program has gone up 130%? Yep. Boy, that sure is restaurateur-friendly, huh?
And the $xx.99 pricing scheme now goes to $xx.00? My, how posh we are.
And what’s this? “San Francisco has the best restaurant community anywhere. Full stop.” Really? Not New York? Not Paris? Not Rome? Not Tokyo? My, how provincial we are.
OTOH, “Restaurant Week” sounds like we’re simply copying other towns in order to sound more “world class.” And of course, it won’t be an actual week, so we’ll be 43% more world-class than everybody else!
And we need $85 deals to allow restaurateurs to “highlight farmer relationships [and] winemaker partnerships…” Like they don’t do that enough on their own already?
And what’s this, a “family-style whiskey-themed dinner?” We’ll be just like Italy!
ASSIGNMENT DESK: Why did the GGRA take control of DAT from SFT? What was wrong with the program before? (IDK myself. This one would write itself, huh?)
I propose a RESTAURANT YEAR, a year in which restaurateurs learn to accept the realities behind that Stanford study and relent on the letter grade issue. Oh what’s that, Yelp has the numerical scores hidden away so that they’re hard to see? No, what we need are simple old-school letter grades posted for all to see.
All right, here it is. Enjoy:
“SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT WEEK
January 21 @ 10:00 am – January 30 @ 10:00 pm
SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT WEEK IS BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER!
(Under new leadership and with new program updates.)
San Francisco has the best restaurant community anywhere. Full stop. Imagine 10 days of celebrating that. This is the first year that the Golden Gate Restaurant Association has taken the reigns of SF Restaurant Week (a program formerly known as Dine About Town – presented by San Francisco Travel). Based on diner feedback, we gave the program a few updates and are excited to share the addition of a new charity partner: the SF-Marin Food Bank. We’re thrilled to re-introduce you to the new SF Restaurant Week and get your support building this into the ultimate celebration of our diverse restaurant landscape.
During Restaurant Week diners can choose from:
$25 – 2 Course Lunch Menu
$40 – 3 Course Dinner Menu
AND NEW THIS YEAR:
$85 Discovery (tasting) Menu – This is a new menu offering available at select restaurants designed to inspire restaurants’ creativity and delight diners. Look for menus that highlight farmer relationships, winemaker partnerships, special dishes or cocktails, or a chef’s vivid imagination.
Sneak Peek: Great Discovery Menu plans are in the works. Hog & Rocks will be doing a family style whiskey themed dinner in partnership with High West Whiskey. ThirstyBear Brewing Co. is planning a beer themed dinner with food made with beer. We’ll reveal Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, RN74, AQ and a number of others’ Discovery Menus soon! Stay tuned…
When is San Francisco Restaurant Week?
San Francisco Restaurant Week is a 10 day celebration from January 21 – 30, 2015. Why do we call it Restaurant Week? Because ‘Restaurant 10 Days’ just didn’t sound as good.
How do I find out which restaurants are participating?
We are curating a fabulous group of restaurants that reflect our unique and diverse culinary community. You will be able to see the list of participating restaurants and the menus they will be offering here on this website on January 5th, 2015. In the meantime, visit our Facebook page (join the event!) and see a sneak peek of who is participating and some of the dishes and experiences that will be on offer.
Should I make a reservation?
Yes! Not only to make sure you get to try all of the fabulous menus at the places you want to visit but also because $0.25 of every cover sold through OpenTable bookings will benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank. Your planning ahead is good for you, good for restaurants, and good for the Food Bank. We’re all for that, and think you should be too.
What’s in it for me?
A city-wide celebration with special menus isn’t enough? Ok, we’ll throw in a few extra goodies. We’ll be rewarding the most enthusiastic diners (those that eat at at least 4 or more participating restaurants during Restaurant Week) with 12 – $100 gift certificates. We’ll be collecting photo entries on our Facebook page. More details on that soon…