How food hygiene ratings impact sales

Food hygiene ratings can have a bigger effect on sales than location, price or menu choice. Learn more about how they affect sales and how to achieve that coveted five stars.

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How ratings are decided

As a company in the catering industry, you can be inspected at any time by the FSA. They will look at a number of factors in your premises ranging from the hand-washing policy to food storage, preparation areas and cleanliness. Based on these factors, you will receive an overall score of between one and five stars.

How would my customers find out?

Companies that get good ratings of four or five stars can display a sticker in their window. Those who get less may choose not to, but the lack of this sticker speaks volumes to your customers. In Wales, it is mandatory to display stickers, even when the rating is poor; such a rule could one day also come into effect in England and Scotland. Some local newspapers have started publishing details of premises that have received the lowest ratings.

Ratings affecting sales: the facts

A recent survey by NFU Mutual found that 44 per cent of customers would turn away from an establishment that had a score of three or less. They also found that only 1 in 20 people said that a food hygiene rating would have no effect on their decision to visit a certain food outlet.

What can I do?

If you don’t already have a food hygiene policy in place, it is time to write one. Go onto the FSA website and create a checklist of everything you need to be aware of and act upon it. Train all of your staff in at least a Level 1 Basic Certificate in Food Hygiene, and have key staff earn higher certificates. Be ready for an inspector to come at any time. You should also take heed from your previous inspection. If dirty glassware let you down, invest in some quality commercial glass washers like those found at

You simply can’t hide a bad score when it comes to food hygiene. As you can see, it has a huge effect on the decision-making process of your customers. Start being proactive today by improving the food hygiene practice at your premises.

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