Restaurant Authenticity vs. Food Safety

A recently published study in the academic journal, Management Science, alleges that consumers may be willing to disregard a restaurant’s poor restaurant rating if they feel there is a certain level to to the products and services. The report referenced Chinese restaurants in the 1980’s that stored ducks at room temperature in windows, ultimately facing health code violations. Customers objected, citing the fact that the method had been practiced for over 4,000 years.

Researchers set out to survey customer reviews over 9,700 restaurants in the Los Angeles area. While authenticity can be hard to gauge, certain key words were identified in the customer reviews. In comparing the “authenticity” score with the star rating and health grade, researchers found that unhygienic but authentic restaurants were valued similarly to their hygienic counterparts.

It brings an interesting point to the New York dining scene, were health grades are plastered in almost every restaurant window. What are your thoughts? Does authenticity trump food safety?

The Management Science report can be found here.

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