Restaurant Inspections Easy to Find with New App

The What the Health app uses the phone’s GPS to show a list of restaurants within a 1-mile radius, and users can click on each restaurant to see the latest inspection report.

by Dusty Ricketts, Northwest Florida Daily News / February 10, 2015
The Hunt menu at Next

(TNS) -- It’s now easier than ever to find out how your favorite Northwest Florida restaurant did on its latest health inspection thanks to a new smartphone app.

Augusta, Georgia,-based Modern Appsolutions released What the Health – Florida last month on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for iPhones as a free download. The app uses the phone’s GPS to show a list of restaurants within a 1-mile radius. Users can click on each restaurant to see the latest inspection report.

“For the most part, (the reaction to the app has) been pretty good,” said Jake Van Dyke, who created the app with business partner Chris Peoples.

“People like having this information where they can actually get to it. It’s a whole lot easier to get to the information now than sitting on the county’s website where no one knows how to get to it.

“There have been a couple of the restaurant owners who weren’t happy about it,” Van Dyke added. “It’s not like we’re making this stuff up. They had stuff they could have fixed and the inspector saw it.”

Modern Appsolutions now has 10 What the Health apps covering nine eastern states and Washington, D.C. Their app covering Tennessee is going through the certification process now and is expected to be their next one to be released.

For the Florida app, What the Health pulls the inspection data from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The DBPR does not put an actual letter grade on its inspections, but instead states the restaurant either met inspection standards, a follow-up inspect is required or facility temporarily closed.

What the Health – Florida actually puts a letter grade on each restaurant based on its most recent inspection using the grading system developed for Washington, D.C., restaurants, Van Dyke said. Restaurants are graded on a 100 point scale with one point taken away for each basic violation and five points for every major violation. A restaurant that receives six or more major violations automatically receives a failing grade, a U in the case of What the Health.

“If it’s easier for people to (to find an inspection), then they’re more likely to look at it,” Van Dyke said.

So far this year, one restaurant has been issued an emergency closure in the local area. Last year, 31 emergency closures were issued to restaurants in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.

©2015 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)