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Food Service Inspection Scores and Rankings

The only official source for Salt Lake County Health Department inspection information is the ”Inspection Reports” button on this website. Private entities, including review websites and media outlets, sometimes pull data from our website and create their own inspection summary, score, or ranking, but the summaries available from these entities do not update daily and may not be a fully accurate representation of a Salt Lake County Health Department inspection.

SLCoHD’s Food Protection Bureau has received national recognition for its risk-based scoring system and real-time rankings, which are more thorough and transparent to the public than a simple letter grade or score. Our system encourages consumers to evaluate an establishment’s full inspection history for consistent good or bad practices, rather than relying on a grade or score that reflects just one inspection—a snapshot in time—of an establishment’s operation that could be outdated the day after it's posted.

Violations observed during an inspection each carry a score of 1, 3, or 6 points depending on the severity of the violation (i.e., how likely the violation is to cause illness). The point total accumulated during an inspection is the inspection “score,” so—like golf—the lower the score, the better.

Every food service establishment is assigned a category called “risk level” based on the establishment’s menu and volume of meals served.  There are four risk levels in Salt Lake County, numbered 1 through 4.

The more complex the menu or food preparation practices and the more people served, the higher the “risk level” category. So an establishment that serves few people from a simple menu is likely to be assigned Risk Level 1, while an establishment serving many meals from a lengthy, complicated menu is likely to be assigned Risk Level 4.

The higher the risk level, the more frequently the establishment will receive a routine, unscheduled (i.e., "surprise") inspection according to the approximate frequency below. We also conduct inspections based on complaints from the public.

  • Risk Level 1: once per year
  • Risk Level 2: every 9 months
  • Risk Level 3: twice per year
  • Risk Level 4: three times per year

Food service establishment rankings are a comparison of an individual establishment’s inspection score against all other establishments within their same risk level category. So, for example, a sushi restaurant will not be compared to a convenience store.

The ranking is expressed as a percentile from 0% to 100%, so a ranking of 25% means the establishment scores better than 25% of establishments within their same risk level category. Because we add new inspections each business day, an establishment’s ranking can change between its inspections because the scores of other establishments within the same category will affect its ranking. Rankings are recalculated weekly, on Friday evenings, to include that week's new inspections.

When you review an establishment's inspection history you can see the establishment’s current rank within its risk level, as well as a summary of its 10 most recent inspections. The summary shows each inspection’s score and the number of critical and non-critical violations.

Critical violations may pose an immediate risk to public health; non-critical violations are violations that, if not corrected, may lead to problems in an establishment over time. You can click on each inspection to see a list of the specific violations observed during that inspection.