we had to set up a temporary satellite location to work out of while building our brand new store, during the set up and before we were open in the satellite store we had several construction fails from the health inspector (like need to reposition shelves 6 inches from the floor, need to increase candle light by the sink area, and we needed sleeves on our flouresant lights. normal pre opening corrections
one of my competetors has gotten this info and now is going around to all the gms of the hotels and telling them the health department has shut us down and that we are dirty bla bla bla
problem one is the records are NOT public record and he had told the gms that the inspector gave them to him
problem 2 we have NOT ever had a food violation!
any leg to stand on to try to sue?

I believe that the more you talk about it, the more you will be viewed as “defending yourself”. Let him talk and at some point, others will see him for what he is. If you feel you must respond, have a copy of your inspections and be ready to show them.

speak to the commissioner or head honcho for the health dept. I’m sure they can’t disclose that information to anyone unless requested.

Actually, I can check out eateries in my state online.

The records show “bad” marks, but don’t expand on what the problem was specifically.

It may say something like “evidence of infestation of insects, and traps installed” pass?? yes/no and say no, but that’s it.

It leaves it way open…did they see roaches or were combat traps not installed? HUGE difference, IMO.

Our local paper here makes all health inspections available to anyone at the click of a button. … sp?cID=315

When I lived in NY the local paper out there would list all criticals in the newspaper every week.

I am of the belief here in our county (though I cannot confirm or document it) that health inspections of food service establishments are public record and subject to open records act requests. We likewise have our inspections posted in the large county newspaper, and they are online as well . . . though they do not keep the current at all.

My recommendation is similar to Bubba. Reactionary is bad and will be perceived as defensive. Find a way to send out a press release about your new location and spin it around to your being a responsive and responsible operator by having the inspector come in during your construction process and correcting all the MINOR issues identified. Make it a sell of how diligent and concerned you were to get them in and assure your setup had no inadvertent mistakes.

Heck, get hold of his last 4 health inspection reports and see what is happening there. Maybe you can even say that there have been no food related issues as appeared on “Tom’s” last three. Careful throwing stones in glass houses though. Give the real information and let the customers see the actual story. You will score their confidence as well as make the putz look awfully petty.

We post ours in full view for the customer.

Why not just post it in the view of the customer.

Blow it off…how desperate the man must be to start rumors. Really think about it…don’t waste any more time or energy worrying about it. Spend your time raising sales and doing what you do best. There will always be someone trying to steal business…fair and unfairly. I would take great satisfaction in knowing the pathetic competition is running out of options and in due time going under.


If a competitor stoops that low, it is likley because he is worried about you…His actions are an attempt to “distract”…Do not let this happen and you will be fine…

Interestingly, I had a similar predicament last year. I had a competitor spreading a rumor that people were getting sick from my pizza. I was worried so I called the health inspector and he told me that there were no reports of anyone getting sick from my place. I was PO’d by this competitor slandering my restaurant. I was going to call the competitor and give me a piece of my mind. I was going to have my lawyer send him a letter. BUT, (from the advice from some fine folks on this board) I chose to let it just blow over and didn’t talked about to anyone (even my own employees). Guess what? It disappeared. I’m not sure how much damage he caused, but I focused my attention on building my business and didn’t let his games distract me. I think this was the best approach.

I would go around to all the hotels to introduce yourself. Business owners respect each other for the risk they take and for hard work. I would NOT mention the issue at all but I would have a copy of the report in my pocket if anyone asks. My suggestion would be that you give every front desk coupons for 4-5 FREE pizzas.

Concentrate on your own message and your product quality and service.

I wonder what the other guy is so worried about? When I have the opportunity to talk to a person that can influence my success I sure don’t spend the opportunity talking about my competition!

it can only help you in the long run…ie, bad press is better than not press…
it only brings some recognition to you, eventhough negative, I believe the public takes that gossip with a grain of salt and will be more interested in your opening because of the “bad press”
I would treat it as what it is, a false rumor, and work on getting your place open…
I’d be more interested in checking you out when you open
press on regardless, and the best to you,

Our local health department had an initiative to help people understand the quality of food establishments and it grades places out of 5 stars - 5 being the best 2 and under being ‘fails’.

We have a pizza/burger/fries place next to us - its filthy, broken windows, the owner sits at the door step on a bar stool with his apron on smoking etc etc. They scored 0 stars - yep that bad.

It was front page news. They appealed and asked for a regrade visit and one month later got 0 stars again and yes it went on the front page again.

Now I really don’t know why the pace is still open but I’ve enough to worry about running my own business without trying to shut them down BUT do you know what difference its made to their business - very very little - the place always has people in in buying dirt (?) cheap food. Its one of the few places open in the city center which is open really late for the clubbers - and it doesn’t seem to have affected them.

So my advice on your situation - not that I’m saying in any way that you are bad or failed - but that people don’t really pay much attention to this type of news regardless of whether it is true or not - carry on what you are doing for while one guy is saying bad things your customers will counter that by telling others what great food you have.

we actually decided to do a couple roads,

  1. we are going around to all our people at the hotels and seeing if they need anything and taking around our last report and just mentioning that it was a pre move in inspection that they had, we have that what he has done has been WAY counter productive, most couldnt believe that he had stooped to that PLUS remember that most of the hotels have there own inspection and one guy told me that he fails SOMETHING every inspection. (nothing major) like no paper towels were out.
  2. we have invited any and employees to come to our kitchen and asked them if they were invited to theres (remember mine is new, theres is 15 years old)
    think we will be ok

well it backed fired on him, apparnetly last night the same gentleman was approaching geust of the hotel, they are now barred!

The greatest revenge is to succeed and live a long, prosperous life.

Score one for the good guys in the Barn! Your character and reputation overshadowed the smear campaign.