New look for food safety ratings in restaurant windows

January 17, 2017 | By | Reply More

By Public Health – Seattle & King County
Starting today, January 17th, restaurants will begin receiving their new food safety rating and window sign as they are routinely inspected.

You may not see window signs in your neighborhood restaurant right away since restaurants will be rolled into the new system in four phases throughout 2017.

Restaurants in King County are inspected on average 1-3 times per year, so some restaurants will not be inspected and get their window signs until later in 2017.

Phase one of the roll out will begin today in restaurants in Seattle (north of I-90), Shoreline, and Lake Forest Park.

Community feedback helped improve the sign design

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in community meetings, interviews and via our online survey (we received over 3,800 responses!). We reviewed all of the results and listened to your feedback. Overwhelmingly option C was favored. We made a few tweaks based on feedback we received to bring you a window sign that shows food safety information in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.

Learn more about how your feedback made a difference in the final sign design.
Your feedback helped to inform changes we made to finalize the restaurant window sign. Our talented graphic designer created many drafts and we tested them in community meetings to make sure we had it right!

For example, when we first started the design process, the lowest food safety rating was conveyed by a frowning emoji that was colored red. Community feedback told us that the red color and frown gave the impression that a restaurant is too much of a poor food safety performer. We heard from people that if a restaurant was performing that badly they should be closed. And that is exactly right! A poorly performing restaurant is closed, so they don’t even have a sign. In contrast, restaurants who receive the “Needs to Improve” rating have met the minimum food safety standards to be open. To make this clear, we used an emoji with a straight line for the Needs to Improve category.

We hope you check out our new restaurant window signs as they pop up around King County, and we can’t wait to hear what you think!

Category: Diet, Food-borne illness, Public Health

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