The purpose of this paper is to determine the utility to consumers of hygiene disclosure schemes for eating places.
A sample of hygiene disclosure schemes operated by local authorities in the UK was examined for features that might be expected to influence consumer awareness and behaviour.
The survey revealed that schemes differed in the interpretation of scores, the extent of information disclosed, the communication channels used to disclose information and the amount of publicity provided for businesses and the public. The majority of schemes provide certificates which businesses are encouraged to display prominently. Hygiene inspection information is posted on the web sites of all the local authorities.
The number of schemes in this study was limited. A comprehensive evaluation of the current UK “Scores on Doors” schemes will have to take into account a large number of schemes with a very large number of variables, making its feasibility questionable.
The “Scores on Doors” schemes will only be successful if the public are fully aware of them and the schemes are well respected. They will have to be well publicised, to operate in an open, transparent manner and be consistent and fair. This study shows that, although the schemes have some features in common, there is considerable lack of consistency, particularly in the representation of scores as symbols.
Published evaluations of hygiene disclosure schemes relate to schemes operating outside the UK. This study examines some of the features of current UK schemes that will require consideration if a consistent nation‐wide scheme is to be developed.
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