Same restaurant chain, different rules
Effective Jan. 1, the Applebee's restaurant in north Champaign will operate under a different food sanitation ordinance than the Applebee's in Savoy, at least as of now.
Food service establishments and retail food stores in Champaign-Urbana will be subject to a color-coded inspection placard system, while similar businesses in Champaign County but outside the cities will not.
The general managers of the Applebee's contend that's not fair.
"I think we should all be playing on the same playing field," said Dean Kregel, general manager of the Champaign Applebee's. "We want businesses to come to Champaign, right? Now we're going to force them to go to Danville or Savoy. How about we all play on the same field?"
Kregel said he's aware that the color-coded placards were under discussion.
"The last time we had an inspection, they brought some paperwork, saying that they could possibly be going to this," he said. "For me, honestly, I'm not super worried about it because I know that I run good on my inspections. But someone else who may not run so high a standard, they might be worried about it."
Kregel said that health scores — listed by month of inspection — already are posted online (http://www.c-uphd.org/food-safety.html).
"If people want to know people's health scores they can go online and find the stuff out. It's not like it's private information. It's bad for people who don't run the high standards because it airs their dirty laundry to everyone," Kregel said.
Joseph Brown, general manager of the Savoy Applebee's, agrees that the separate rules for Champaign-Urbana restaurants — green (satisfactory), yellow (reinspection required) or red (closure) — and all others in the county appear to be unfair.
"I think that's really bad because if you're a yellow it could just mean that you had a really bad day on that one day," said Brown. "A lot of things could make it a bad day. Some equipment could break, or it could be a day when the manager didn't check something. I don't think that's a fair assessment, one day out of 365. That's not fair."