Food delivery firms Deliveroo and Uber Eats are allowing businesses with 2 food hygiene ratings to be listed on their platforms.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland gives businesses a rating from 0 to 5, with 5 being the best. A score of 2 means some improvement is necessary.
New restaurants wishing to join the Just Eat platform must be registered and have an FHRS rating of 3, a Pass in Scotland or be awaiting inspection. A 3 means hygiene standards are generally satisfactory. Scotland’s Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) has Pass, Exempt Premises and Improvement Required as ratings categories.
Deliveroo and Uber Eats approach
Deliveroo allows new restaurants awaiting inspection to be listed on the platform when it can verify the outlet is a legitimate business. It allows restaurants with a 2 rating on the platform.
“They are legally permitted to continue trading, but we have taken action to help and incentivize them to make improvements to their standards. We also allow customers to filter and sort restaurants by their hygiene rating, encouraging restaurants with lower ratings to make improvements to their standards,” according to Deliveroo.
The Deliveroo platform will continue to work with existing restaurants that receive a 1 rating, meaning major improvement is necessary, in certain circumstances.
The food hygiene rating is found in the restaurant information section on the platform so any sites with a pending rating will be shown with the “awaiting inspection” status.
Deliveroo also works with SureFoot Solutions, a food safety auditing firm, that offers virtual and onsite audits. Just Eat has joined with NSF International but Uber Eats does not have such a partnership.
Uber Eats requires all restaurant partners to hold, or be in the process of obtaining, a food hygiene rating of 2 or above.
“This includes those that still need to undergo their inspection, subject to meeting certain requirements including proof that the business is registered with their local authority,” a spokesperson told Food Safety News.
“Restaurants that do not meet our policy cannot partner with Uber Eats. Existing restaurants that fall below this requirement will lose access to the Uber Eats app until their food hygiene rating meets our minimum requirement.”
Just Eat position
For Just Eat, non-standard restaurants such as delivery only or a residential kitchen need to have had an inspection with a minimum rating of 3 before they are put on the platform.
“Due to the pressure COVID-19 is placing on food supply, the sector and local authorities, in some cases, we will allow registered non-standard restaurants that are awaiting inspection to join the platform if they have had a physical pre-inspection by NSF on our behalf,” said a Just Eat spokesman.
Deliveroo and Uber Eats refused to comment when asked how many restaurants they had removed from their platforms because of food hygiene problems in the past 12 to 24 months. In 2019, Just Eat removed all zero rated sites from its platform, according to the company.
The Just Eat spokesman said: “The vast majority of our partners have an FHRS rating of 3 or above and as such, we’ve only had to remove a small number of restaurants due to zero ratings over the last 18 months.
“Local authorities are responsible for carrying out regular inspections and deciding if a restaurant should be allowed to trade. We believe it is right to take our lead from the local authority and that the independence of their work is critical to ensuring the integrity and consistency of food hygiene standards nationwide.”
The spokesman said that more than 80 percent of restaurants that have received NSF training had improved their rating.
“We believe that rather than removing low-rated businesses without giving them support, it is much more responsible to give them the support they need to improve their standards, while at the same time ensuring customers have full visibility of a restaurant’s food hygiene rating when ordering,” he said.
“This is why we offer all 1 and 2 rated premises free audit and re-inspection support from our auditing partner NSF. This is particularly important at such a challenging time for the hospitality sector, and we believe this approach will ultimately drive up standards across the industry.”
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