Establishments providing food to the public in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are starting to see food hygiene ratings from the local council and associated websites ranking on Page 1 of Google searches. To put it simply when someone Googles your food establishment name ( shop, restaurant, hotel etc etc ) they are likely to see a star rating ( these ratings start from 0 to 5 and range from ” urgent improvement necessary ” to ” very good ” see http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/webpage/moreabouten for more information.
Yesterday someone I know was googling a restaurant and one of the first things they said to me was ” oh dear, it has only got a 2 star food hygiene rating ” .
Let’s take a random example of a food outlet Google :
” The Tweedale Arms ” ( I mean the one in Tamworth – Google asks if I mean the Tweeddale arms in Scotland ).
No website for the Tweedale Arms appears in the first few Google listings ( either they don’t have one or it has not been optimised – SEO’d – to come up ).
There are a couple of listings from Beer in the Evening and Tamworth Heritage Pubs and then you have the listing from the ” Scores on the Doors ” website
This website describes itself as
” Scores on the Doors is the No. 1 national food hygiene rating scheme where you can find the official local authority hygiene ratings for food businesses – now the largest in the world! “
Further down the Google there is a listing from Rate my Place
which is the official website for Food Safety Inspections in Staffordshire.
ie the 5th and the 8th front page Google listings for The Tweedale Arms are Food Hygiene Ratings listings.
Owners of food and hospitality establishments typically concerned themselves with e.g. TripAdvisor and Booking.com listings and reviews and comments alongside with the ranking of thier own web and blog sites but now they must consider another couple of websites – “scores on the doors” and ” rate my place”.
Obviously the easy and most appropriate answer is to ensure that you get high food hygiene ratings by having a clean and well run establishment. Food establishments have been undergoing random food and safety inspections for years.
These 2 websites will have massive, changing content and they will rank high with Google searches – as long as what they say is good then no problem.
However, I think this is also a wake up call to hospitality venue owners to not only get websites and blogsites up and running but also to get them recognised by Google ( and other search engines ) and search engine optimised.