Kumon-like Kitchen Consultants Help Restaurants Game Letter Grades

New York restaurants are partnering with consulting companies to earn A's from the Health Department.

New York restaurants are partnering with consulting companies to earn A’s from the Health Department.

Pop quizzes always make us a little queasy, but this surprise test might help settle your stomach.

In front of every New York restaurant, costumers can find the restaurant’s grade plastered in a front window. And as parents and teachers expect A’s from their budding, bright-eyed students, so too costumers expect that successful mark.

Ever eager, New York restaurants’ need to over achieve has given rise to the kitchen equivalent to Kumon tutors, who drill multiplication tables into five-year-olds with a ferocious ferver. A new company, Letter Grade Consulting, is hoping to cash in on this psychological trend by offering to give restaurants faux health inspections.

Their motto, “Raising the bar to lower your score,” refers to the ever-so-strict system that distributes B’s to restaurants receiving 14 points or more for a range of violations, of which there are up to 1,000. With a system like that, it’s no surprise that restaurant owners are freaking out. 

These consultants train employees on sanitary requirements, presentation expectations and any other extracurricular-type skill that overpriced tutoring companies would teach a child. Fortunately, these mock tests are cheap compared to hundreds of dollars parents spend on prep for the SAT or GRE. For as little as $8, the company will critique a kitchen. Depending on the size and frequency of visits, the price will vary; however, the average cost is only $10 to $12 per visit. 

The Flatiron Room puts their services to the test monthly with the Letter Grade Consulting company. “I’m guilty of it. I definitely use [letter grades] as a deciding factor,” owner Mr. Tommy Tardie toldThe Wall Street Journal. “If I’m walking somewhere and I’m looking for a quick bite to eat, and one is a B and one is an A. It’s a no brainer. I’m going to go to the A.”

So remember New York eateries, B now equals bad. It’s never to soon to start a college kitchen savings fund.