Restaurant receives apology over hygiene rating error

08 July 2016 by
Restaurant receives apology over hygiene rating error

The Advocate Arms hotel in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire has received an apology from West Lindsey District Council after the two-AA-rosette restaurant was mistakenly left with a two-star hygiene rating.

Owner Darren Lince appealed against the council's decision, arguing that the inspection hadn't been handled in the correct way.

Lince told The Caterer that he had previously had issues with the same hygiene inspector at a previous venue.

The council apologised to Lince, and assured him that changes had been put in place to avoid the same mistakes happening again.

After the apology, however, the council did not take action to change the rating. Lince contacted them again, and they have since reassessed the Advocate Arms, awarding it four out of five stars.

Head chef John Kelly told The Caterer: "Upon reinspection we were told that the two-star rating was a mistake, we were never at that stage and so the rating never existed.

"The initial problem was with one of the floors. We contested that because we believed it was up to the required standard. We know the floor is not the best and it's old, but we work within an old building so it's hard for us to change it. It's fine as long as it's maintained properly, and the second inspector agreed with that."

When the Advocate Arms was mistakenly given the two-star hygiene rating, the restaurant experienced a 10% like-for-like drop in sales over the three-month quarrel with the council, Lince said, adding that it was the first decrease in trade the business had seen since opening eight years ago.

Lince added: "I am delighted with the apology for the sake of the business. We saw a significant downturn since the initial story ran in our local newspaper, but the apology and correction made front page news. We have since shown 100 guests around our kitchen, just to be open and transparent."

Kelly said: "Since we put out on social media that the first rating was a mistake and it was reported on in the paper, we have definitely noticed the restaurant getting busier, so it showed people did listen to the first rating."

Lesley Beevers, regulatory team manager at West Lindsey District Council said: "We acknowledge that we did not provide an ideal service to Mr Lince with our initial inspection and that we also did not deal with his complaint in a professional manner.

"We have apologised to Mr Lince and have worked with him and his team to resolve the situation. Following a review of this case, we have put in place changes that will improve our dealings with customers in this area of work."

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