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Le Pain Quotidien president on NYC's new health inspections

With New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene debuting its new letter-grade inspection system this month, restaurateurs say they are concerned about how their businesses will be affected.

Jay Wainwright, president of Le Pain Quotidien, a 141-unit, fast-casual bakery-cafe chain, said the letter-grading system is built in such a way that it would be difficult for operators to score A grades. Le Pain Quotidien has 23 locations in New York, including a restaurant that opened this spring in Central Park.

As part of this new system, New York’s more than 24,000 restaurants will be judged on a point system that is converted to letter grades that will be posted in the window of their stores. Restaurants receiving 0 to 13 violation points during an inspection would receive an A grade, which would be posted immediately. Those scoring 14 to 27 points would get Bs, and those with 28 points or more would receive Cs.

Restaurants receiving A grades will be inspected annually, but those that score lower marks will get more frequent visits, according to the city's health department.

Wainwright discussed the new grading system Tuesday with Nation’s Restaurant News. He also talked about calorie posting and how chains, including Le Pain Quotidien, have been affected by the legislation and how businesses that embrace full disclosure on those issues, can achieve better success with their customers.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected].

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