Restaurant Grades and Wendys and giveaway

Restaurant Grades and Wendys and giveaway

In grade school, sometimes they would invite these “motivational speakers” to come in, tell us to persevere in life, stay off of LSD, and try not to start families before we’re legally allowed to smoke. One of those stupid things that schools like to do and pretend that it has an effect on kids. But an example of something they would say to us to try and be better people would be like, “Do only the things that you’d do if your mother was behind you watching what you do.” Silly speakers… mothers don’t know what kids do in chatrooms! (Especially these days with cellphones and twitpics) But the underlying message is actually one worth investigating and that is whether shame can play a part in influencing the actions of an individual. Reading about economics from a laymen’s perspective, I’ve learned that it’s easier to call these things “incentives”. So it makes sense that if you believe in the idea of incentives, that this could apply to organizations as well as individuals. Today let’s talk about incentives for restaurants. Specifically, incentives to obey laws (good or bad) stipulated by the Department of Health (DOH) and whether that plays a role in what we want to eat. Recently New York decided to pass a law that would require restaurants to post their health inspection grades on the front window, the way that LA restaurants have had to do for over the last ten years.

So the Wall Street Journal interviewed Jonathan Gold about what happened in Los Angeles after the law passed. They quote him saying: “Before the letter grades went into effect, being somebody who ate a certain end of the food chain a lot, I probably had low-level food poisoning for, you know, six years straight. And it’s been much better since then.” They also talked about how there was a study done in 2003 that showed that hospitalization due to food-borne illnesses dropped by 20%. All this is good news to me, as a consumer.

However, if you’re a restaurant owner, I’m sure it’s not the same. Your livelihood depends on people coming into the restaurant and pay for food regardless of what grade you get. But if you had an A and then dropped to a B, would people come in at the same rate? Of course one must believe that revenues won’t necessarily stay the same, depending on what type of restaurant suffers the downgrade. If I’m hoping to spend big bucks to dine at a starred restaurant, I would probably pick one that has an A instead of a B. But if I’m going to eat in Chinatown or other ethnic restaurants… who cares?! Really, I don’t even care from where the food comes. Why would I care if it’s a B or a C? If the restaurant seems busy enough, that should be an indication that it’s good enough to visit.

But the point is… if you love eating out at restaurants, should you support the law? I think the answer is yes. The whole point of the law is that it would protect the majority of consumers, and it really only inconveniences restaurant owners. And it inconvenience them how exactly? It makes them clean up their restaurants? Make sure people are less likely to get sick? See there are restaurant owners against this law, but it’s just stupid. All restaurant owners should be for this law, If we want to quibble about what and how the DOH inspects restaurants, we can do that. But that WSJ article states that nearly 84% of the restaurants in LA get a grade of A now. If we think the DOH is too harsh in judging, that’s one thing. But to not support the law because it’s not perfect enough is just stupid. Any time in society, we allow ‘perfect’ to get in the way of ‘better’, we’re screwing ourselves. This law is a move in the direction of progress, and restaurant owners in NY need to get with it or stop riding big metal poles with their ass.

But whats a post without some food? So let’s talk about the Crispy Chicken Value Meal at Wendy’s. They’ve been advertising it on TV for $2.99 but I guess in NY there’s a price adjustment that brings it to $3.59 depending on which Wendy’s you visit. I’m going to go ahead and say even for my low expectations of fast food, this was just average at best. The redeeming aspect of the meal was that they happened to get some crunch to the bacon that came with the sandwich.

Lastly we have a free giveaway today! Lake Isle Press is hosting a party called Senegalese Summer at the restaurant Le Grand Dakar. It’s a sweet event for $25 since you get unlimited food and sangria. You get a chance to win a ticket to this event at no cost! That’s right, a chance to attend this event totally free. Oh and it’s happening June 24th at Le Grand Dakar at 7pm. Basically to enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is comment below about any Senegalese food you like or just any summer food you’re looking to have this year. Tomorrow at 5pm I’ll pick a winner at random using some online random number generator and pick a lucky winner to get a ticket for this event. So comment below!

Posted by Danny on June 21, 2010 at 8:45 pm

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