In cities like New York, health inspection grades are right on the door, but in Rochester, it may be a little trickier to find out if your fancy dinner is going to make you sick.
Fortunately, Democrat and Chronicle unveiled a new RocDocs feature this week that allows diners to catch a glimpse of what’s going on in the kitchen.
The D&C has compiled inspection reports from Monroe County’s Department of Health and Safety and posted them on a searchable database on RocDocs.com for several years. Monroe County’s team of health inspectors records the conditions in over 2,500 restaurants and eateries to ensure that they comply with state regulations for health and safety.
Now, a new expansion at RocDocs.com/restaurant-inspections will allow visitors to view health inspections from restaurants across New York State.
Inspections consist of one to two routine, unannounced visits a year, though that number can increase if the department receives customer complaints. They’re conducted by city and county Departments of Health and reported to the state.
During visits, inspectors survey each property for dozens of problems with varying degrees of severity.. Issues like food workers not wearing gloves or a dirty counter are flagged for correction and addressed in a follow-up inspection, but critical violations that can result in imminent health hazards are dealt with more severely. The RocDocs database displays a summary of each inspection, including the date, the name and address of the location, and the number of critical and non-critical violations documented. Each summary expands with more detailed information on individual violations. Visitors to the website can browse restaurants by county or search for a specific eatery.
“It’s important to note that these reports are a snapshot in time and are not always reflective of the day-to-day operations and overall condition of an establishment,” said the announcement on democratandchronicle.com. “Most restaurants will work quickly to resolve any problems that inspectors find. For that reason, our database only includes reports for the last six months.”
While this database may be a problem for restaurants with poor inspections, it could be a blessing to clean restaurants without an online presence. It’s notoriously hard to get the top spot in a Google search, and about 75% of search engine users will only look at the first results page.. Having a good reputation on the database may pull in unexpected new customers.
The database will be updated weekly as data becomes available from counties. It won’t include inspection data from Erie County, Suffolk County or New York City, since that information is already available from their own websites.
The RocDocs database promotes transparency for public documentation and also includes databases on public payrolls, pension data and real estate transactions.