Foodies take heed!
Before jumping on those discounted pre-fixe menus during New York City's popular Restaurant Week, new data suggests some restaurants may owe their fortunes to being graded on the curve.
NYC's official guide describes the restaurant week as "a semiannual promotion that celebrates fine dining at an affordable price in New York City." The promotion runs from Monday, January 18 through Friday, February 5.
The New York City Department of Health and Hygiene (DOH) conducts an annual inspection of roughly 24,000 restaurants, bars and cafeterias on food safety factors, assigning letter grades based on a score aggregated from health code violations. The lower the number of violations, the lower the score and better the grade: An "A" represents the best, followed by "B," "C" and "D."
Using NYC OpenData that includes data on restaurant inspection, a group of graduate students at the New York University's Stern School of Business has found that the Department of Health prefers to grade restaurants at the low end of a higher grade, rather than at the high end of a lower grade. In some places, and certainly some institutions of higher learning, that can be construed as a form of grade inflation.