When you see that ominous ‘C’ brooding in the window of your favorite grungy taqueria, does it make you turn and walk back to the safety of a cleaner chain restaurant? It does for a lot of New York diners, according to this new study released today by a company called Excellent Tones (which swears it is a real company, not a Bill & Ted cover band). The study says one third of NYC customers are “concerned with health grades,” meaning restaurants are losing business because of the city’s controversial rating system. If true, this could be a big issue: only half of the city’s restaurants received an ‘A’ rating, 31 percent received a ‘B’ and 18 a ‘C.’ The ratings system has created a lot of grief lately: Even City Council speaker Christine Quinn released a study last month that says two thirds of restaurants have been forced to spend more money since the grading system went into effect.
So what say you brokesters? Do you trust the rating system enough to change your dining plans, or does a low grade make it some sort of cheap badge of honor? After all, the best burrito I ever had was at a roadside stand in Venice Beach, Calif., which proudly displayed its ‘C’ rating in the window, although when you don’t eat meat, you’re way less concerned about whether the goat meat is tainted.