When you go for a bite to eat at some of the country’s best-known and long-established restaurant chains you expect them to be clean and hygienic.
But are they?
This was the question posed by Consumer Editor of The Sun, Dan Jones, as he tasked OpenWorld News to investigate if any were making hygiene blunders.
And the answer was a pretty stomach-churning yes, as we found mouse droppings and bugs in restaurant kitchens, dirty equipment and staff unaware of basic safety rules.
The full result of our investigation was published in a double-page spread in The Sun today.
As part of our investigation we gathered XML files detailing hygiene ratings for restaurants in every local authority and loaded them into a database.
All the files are open to the public on the Food Standards Agency site here.
And by forming a database we could analyse the nationwide data to determine which of the restaurant chains had the best, and worst, hygiene scores.
We could also rank the chains fairly by establishing the percentage in need of hygiene improvements – rated either ‘zero’, ‘one’, or ‘two’ in the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
The results for some well-known chains were impressive.
At McDonalds, more than 83 per cent of the 913 restaurants inspected were given the top ‘five’ rating, putting them as ‘excellent’.
Only 0.5 per cent needed any kind of improvement.
Burger King were even better, with just 0.3 per cent needing improvements.
Considering the large number of branches for these fast food giants, such a small number in need of hygiene improvements is a remarkable feat.
But other big names didn’t fare quite as well.
And for some we used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain copies of recent inspection reports.
It showed mouse droppings in one restaurant.
Other chains had bugs in the kitchen, a lack of hot water and disinfectant, dirty and faulty equipment, and staff found to be unaware of basic hygiene rules.
You can read the article in The Sun here.