Some 44% of customers wouldn’t enter a restaurant if it displayed a hygiene rating - dubbed Scores on the Doors - of three or less out of the maximum five, according to a new report. There are currently 65,000 catering and hospitality businesses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland - 43,000 (18%) of which are based in England - that have a food hygiene score of three or below.
While the majority (82%) of English catering and hospitality businesses already have a rating of 4 or 5, according to the Food Hygiene Ratings Report from NFU Mutual, the findings highlight the potential negative impact for restaurants that only have a ‘fair’ (3) hygiene rating.
“A ‘good’ score can no longer be seen as an aspiration but a minimum benchmark,” says Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist at NFU Mutual. “Imminent compulsory displays are destined to be a game changer for those businesses struggling to reach the top grades.”
It is already mandatory for food businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland to display their hygiene score in a prominent place such as the front door or window. The legislation is set to come into force in England by 2019, and a comparable Scottish scheme likely to follow.
Consumers were overall in favour of the compulsory displays, with 88% across England and Scotland agreeing with the rule, and 66% strongly so.