Just Eat - Behind the scenes - Displaying Food Hygiene Ratings.

Just Eat published all the Food Hygiene Ratings (FHR) for every single restaurant on their network a couple of weeks ago. They were the first delivery food service to display FHR’s for all their suppliers.

Some questions that have not been answered:

  • It is about time, Why did it take so long?

  • Why have the other networks NOT published this information?

  • What is the reason for not just publishing when the data is freely available?

 
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I will break down the process that was undertaken by Just Eat. I first have to say it was a pretty epic task that they have achieved. I hope to show you the extent of their dedication to food safety.

 

The Key Is The Data Sync

The first step would be to tap into the Food Standards Agencies (FSA’s) API (the data) which is freely available here. The key is to get the correct FHR to sync to each business is the “FHRSID”.

FHRSID explained and importance.

FHRSID explained and importance.

Understanding the FHRSID and LocalAuthorityBusinessID (LABID) - The FSA’s FHRSID is created when a business registers with the Local Authority (LA). The LABID is held with the LA and given to them on the registration paperwork. It is listed on the FSA’s API as seen above. A business would never know the LABID information because every council has a different format of these ID’s and it is not explained to them. The LABID is also NOT searchable from the FSA’s rating search URL. So this is a very confusing process without the business knowing the importance of this information.

Getting back to the data sync. You would download the entire database from the FSA and then write a script to sync either the postcode, address, or the name of the business registered with Just Eat. The only way a business would know the FHRSID is to go to their FSA Ratings link and look in their URL.

Example:

508153 is this business FHRSID.

508153 is this business FHRSID.

This process is straight forward and about 65% of the FHR data will sync successfully. The other 35% is the problem.


Multiple Food Hygiene Ratings

By this, I mean multiple FHR’s within the same location. There are several scenarios’s here:

  • Leased/Shared kitchen -This happens when the primary business hires out its kitchen but still has to maintain their own FHR. Same address but two, three, or four (etc) different FHR’s.

  • Food Market/Mall/Hotel- One address and postcode can have up to 20+ businesses with different FHR’s.

  • New Business - The food premises can be handed over to a new business. This can take a while to upload the new inspection with new business details.

A script cannot successfully pick up these anomalies without someone visually checking them to be sure that they match correctly.


Lack Of Transparency

This by far was the biggest obstacle. The dreaded “Private address”, and when I say dreaded it means no address, no postcode, or no geodata. This really does not mean private. This means no one has put the information into the database. It is just blank data!

Note: Names of businesses, LA, the outward postcode has been removed. No inward postcode was available.

Example data: I just took 4 councils at random and these are the number of businesses that have NO address/postcode/geodata:

Local Authority #1 - 252
Local Authority #2 - 323
Local Authority #3 - 240
Local Authority #4 - 263

When you scale these numbers above you have a major problem with trying to sync this data. There is no doubt this is done manually with people power.


How did they do it?

You add these number up and you get a massive problem. So say about 35% of the database needs to be manually checked.

Just Eat had a smaller slice of that 35% that are suppliers on their network. Still, if you break it down they had to go through thousands of records in a step by step process. My guesstimate would be about 6000 records had syncing issues.

Here would be the process to get that FHR via People Power:

  1. Find a Just Eat supplier with no FHRSID.

  2. Go to the FSA Rating page.

  3. Type Suppliers Business Name

  4. If No Business Name ->

  5. Type Post Code

  6. Find The Valid Supplier

  7. Copy and Paste FHRSID from the URL address.

  8. Add to Just Eat database.

Do this 6000+ times….

How many people power were available? How much time was taken? I can confirm this was a massive task and the other food delivery services are so far behind if they have not started this process above.


The Conclusion

I hope that gives you a better understanding of what needs to be done to get an FHR displayed using the FHRSID. That is exactly why the other food delivery networks have not displayed the FHR yet. They are probably doing the above right now or maybe not doing anything at all since it is a massive time-consuming process.

Two things that would fix these issues.

1 -If the food business knew upfront their FHRSID this would solve most of the issues above. LA’a should give the business their FHRSID when they get their first inspection. Even better add it to the scores on doors sticker. The food delivery service can add this as a mandatory field during the food business signup process. No ID, No Access.

2 - Data needs to be added to the FSA’s database correctly for a better transparent food safety network to operate. Local Authority Administrator’s should not be able to release incomplete records. There should be a control in place that a food business needs full information before the data can be uploaded to the FSA network. I don’t know any industry where they leave basic information blank.

Lastly, Just Eat Food Safety did a great job. Hats off to them for making the safest food delivery network!


Our Validation

 
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We know this pain point as we add FHR to our current clients. We have used the FSA database as our address locator within the UK. Constantly we have to tweak the FHR for our clients because of the above issues. These are the exact hand edits that Just Eat accomplished.

Sales Note: We add the FHR to our clients’ account as a reminder that if you do not do your food safety checks, there are implications. This creates an awareness that they are doing these checks for a bigger purpose. The companies have noticed that these simple little triggers create a better food safety system as a whole.

 

Jim McGuire

An American Expat living LDN for 15 years.

DIY Chef!

CEO and Co-Founder ofKitchenLogs!

#FoodTech

I am also a Long Distance Swimmer.