^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

A Frisco Man Built an App That Gathers and Shares Restaurant Health-Inspection Scores

Do health scores matter to you when you're making a dining decision? Maybe if they were easier to find they would. While restaurants in other cities, including New York and L.A., are required to display their scores prominently outside the building, the restaurants in and around Dallas have much more relaxed reporting requirements.

That's one of the reasons Frisco resident Noel Geren is betting that smartphone users will appreciate easier access to these scores. His new app, FoodFumble, makes restaurant health inspection scores available to anyone with an iPhone (and soon Android phones, too). The app displays scores of various formats (some cities use numbers, others letters) and converts them to simple plate icons that are easy to understand.

There are a few caveats, though.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

For one, Geren has only set up his app to pull scores from databases in Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Richardson, Carrollton, Irving and Grayson County. Geren says he's working to add new cities every day, but each city makes the restaurant data available in slightly different ways. Dallas should be available on his app soon, but has a notoriously awful database that's hard to search. Addison doesn't make that data available at all.

Geren isn't the first person with the idea to improve access to these scores. Yelp made news when they offered health inspection scores of restaurants in San Francisco earlier this year. At that time the online review site promised New York City and Philadelphia would be the next two cities, but it looks like they've only managed to provide the data for restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky so far.

While some diners may have no interest in a restaurant's health inspection score, there are certainly some diners who would make decisions based on the information, and accessibility is being pushed as a health concern. A 2005 study demonstrated a 13 percent decrease in food-borne illness after L.A. forced its restaurateurs to prominently display their scores. It makes you wonder why cities like Addison wouldn't do everything they can to make that data as available to as many people as possible.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.