Greensboro, NC -- We all like to have a night out and WFMY News 2 wants to help you plan a winner with 2 Wants To Know Restaurant Report Card.
Each week, Restaurant Report Card will highlight restaurants topping the charts with their inspection scores, and places that need to work on their scores. You'll also get the inside track on meals you don't want to miss.
Each county health department in North Carolina performs the same inspection. The inspections are completed by certified inspectors, with the same checklist for each restaurant.
Inspections are done four times a year, and each inspection is unannounced.
"The basic premise is to make sure that people who eat out, get safe food. That is the whole point of what we do," said Sandy Ellington, Health Educator with the Guilford County Health Department.
Inspectors are checking to make sure food is stored and cooked properly, dishes are sanitized properly, there aren't any unwanted critters running around, and employees are washing their hands.
Restaurants can be docked points for any of them.
"What we're most concerned with is what's going to make you sick. And back in the kitchen is what's going to make you sick," said Ellington.
The scoring works just like test scores in school:
90 to 102 = A
80 to 89 = B
70 to 79 = C
Ellington said if a restaurant scores below a "C", the inspector will close the restaurant when they leave because they can no longer operate.
A restaurant can score above 100. Each county health department offers a "Safeserv" class. If a restaurant employee takes the class and passes a certification exam, the restaurant gets two bonus points.
The "Safeserv" class is not mandatory, but a lot of restaurants are requiring employees to take the class anyway.
"The majority of restaurants want their people to be educated about food safety. They want the public to know, that they know what they're doing," said Ellington.
2 Wants To Know Restaurant Report Card airs every Thursday on News 2.