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ABC to 123: Wilson Restaurant Letter Ratings Go Numerical

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WILSON — Wilson county will change its restaurant rating system in August, where large numbers will replace the current letter grades.

For 18 years, Priscilla Livingston worked hard to keep an "A" rating at her Wilson restaurant. The grade is posted up front, but a customer has to look at the fine print to see that "Priscilla's" scored a 97.5, one of the highest grades in the county.

Beginning August 1, Wilson consumers will not have to rely on vague letter grades any more. Large number grades will go up instead where consumers can see what restaurants really score.

"For the ones that have a good operation, it's not going to matter," Livingston said. "For those that have been maybe running on the lower end of their letters, it might be a disadvantage to them."

Consumers like Glenn and Sharon Dew believe the change will make restaurant owners work harder for their business.

"If they're a 90, I would question how they got that 90," Sharon Dew said. "If they got the 90, just because... the health inspector wanted to give them and "A", if they were borderline "B"."

"If it's going to be so I can see it, the higher the number, yes, then I think I would look for anything in the higher 90's," Glenn Dew said. "I'd be more likely to stop at that restaurant."

Seven counties are involved in the rating experiment. For the next few months the state will look for public input to see how customers like the new system.

"It will go on one year and the chances are unknown right now as to whether it will go statewide," said Johanna Reese, who is with the Environment and Natural Resources Department. "We'll evaluate it towards the end of that year."


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