posted an update

What We Found

1) Some neighbourhoods have more frequent food inspection violations than others.

2) Overall, these violations are followed by a dip in the reviews, but it generally goes back up again after a year or so.

3) The dip is more prominent in restaurants with more severe violations (indicated by heavier fines, >3K$), and they generally don't show much sign of improvement afterwards.

4) Some restaurants with less severe violations (fines <3K$) actually improve their ratings afterwards, and they tend to be concentrated in Plateau area.

Conclusions

  • When violations are severe, reviews go down probably because information can spread through reviewers who may learn about the violations through news outlet, but the effect is not long-lasting.

  • When it's less severe, it's less likely that the reviewers know about it, and it may actually improve reviews by prompting the owners of the restaurant to improve.

  • Making the inspection results visible (not just violations but also any improvements at follow-up) would give incentives for business owners to improve, and help customers avoid making bad choices.

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