City of London,

City launches ‘look before you book’ food hygiene campaign

The City of London Corporation – local authority for the Square Mile – is today launching a new campaign calling on Londoners to check the hygiene ratings of restaurants, cafes and bars before they book their Christmas parties.

The Square Mile has the biggest daytime population density in the UK at 400,000 and in the coming weeks its pubs, cafes and restaurants will be packed out with office workers looking to celebrate the festive season.

The campaign – run in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency – is called ‘Look Before You Book’ – and will be supported by a new wave of checks on City food businesses who are not displaying their ratings, in a bid to improve display compliance.

The City of London looks after 1,800 food premises - including 100 on the River Thames. Around 1,500 of these are rated 3, 4, and 5, but research shows only 50% of food businesses in England are displaying this hygiene rating.

If customers can’t see a hygiene rating sticker, they can check the score by using the Food Standards Agency [FSA] phone app (available on Android, iPhone and Windows 8) and checking the FSA website.

City of London Public Protection Director, Jon Averns, said:

“It is not acceptable for City food businesses to hide their hygiene ratings. This campaign will boost competition between businesses and give incentives to those cafes, restaurants and bars with poorer ratings to improve. It will also help consumers to question and draw their own conclusions if they don’t see a sticker on display.”

City of London food businesses are inspected to make sure that all food is handled and prepared safely, and hygiene ratings are worked out after assessing:

  • How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
  • How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

An overall number rating is given, from zero (the worst) to five (the best) and based on food safety standards found in the three specific areas. A rating of 3 is ‘generally satisfactory’, 4 ‘good’ and 5 ‘very good’


Notes to editors

Press enquiries

John Park, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3639 / M 07824 343 456


About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation has three roles: we support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration and skills projects. The City of London Corporation’s charity, the City Bridge Trust, makes grants of more than £15 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education - with three independent schools and three City Academies – plus a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London. And – with its heart in London’s Square Mile - we also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events, research-driven policies and a long-term approach. See for much more on our uniquely diverse role, including the City of London Police, etc.