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Or “how disgustingly foul can a restaurant be and still pass Scores on Doors?”

Since Scores On Doors isn’t actually measuring excellence, but just working out how bad you are, the question “how badly can you fail Scores on Doors and still pass” makes sense.

So my question is “what’s the worst we can squeeze in and pass?” Or, “what problems can I squeeze into 15 points and still pass?”

My hypothetical restaurant “McChunders” doesn’t have the best reputation. In fact the roaches have moved out after protesting about the conditions.


The first thing that hits you as you walk into McChunders is the smell. Not the aroma of burgers or baking bread, but rubbish. It’s piling up and it’s starting to smell. Enough to close it down? No, just one point.

In theory there would be pests associated with the rubbish, but it just gets tossed at the end of the day.

A quick glance around reveals the hand washing facilities which is a relief. That could easily clock up 21 points by not having the facilities (1 point) or using them when needed (20 points). So let’s assume they all have clean hands.

But wait, the water has backed up in the drain and is hovering an inch below the rim. Their hands may be clean but the sinks aren’t. So how many points for McFloaters?  Inadequate sewerage and waste water disposal system – one point.

I also discover that the reason why there are no rats is because of the three cats. One of them is on the work bench. Animals in the food preparation area – one point.

And there are live chooks. But wait, that’s still just the one point.

To be totally clear on how the system works – McChunders is still eligible for 5-stars because it has only lost 3 points.


Then there’s Eddie the kitchen-hand eating a sandwich over the bench. Finally a decent penalty – four points. After eating, Eddie lights up and has a smoke. Wait, that’s the same 4 points. It doesn’t matter that he went from a couple bread crumbs to smoking.

But to top it off, he takes the cigarette out of his mouth, looks around for the garbage bin, snorts, and spits across the walkway into the bin. Guess what, it’s the same four points.

But why am I surprised because Eddie looks like one of those stereotypical rednecks with his clothing. He wipes his mouth with the back of his sleeve, looks at me and says “what’s your problem?” I feel like saying “the grease on your overalls” but hold my tongue. Dirty clothing – one point.

He raises his hand at me and gives me the bird. That’s when I see the blood stained band-aid limply holding on to his finger. Awesome, that’s worth…actually that’s the dirty clothing point.

So now, despite Eddie’s contributions, the restaurant is still eligible for 4-star rating.


Now let’s go for a big one (as if spitting wasn’t enough) – the use of dirty eggs. In recent years the biggest outbreaks of food poisoning have been as a result of contamination from fresh eggs, and that contamination tends to come from the outside of the eggs, not the inside.

So here is a restaurant that has fresh eggs (remember the chooks). And like farm fresh eggs, they are covered in chook…stuff. Since this is known to cause massive food poisoning outbreaks it must be enough to fail the restaurant. Nope – 4-points.

I wander out into the seating area. There’s a salad bar up the back. By salad bar I mean table. And standing over it is a mother with her young kids making a mad grab for whatever they can. The spoons go from bowl to bowl. No supervisor and no dedicated utensils – one point. And then the feeding frenzy is broken by one of the kids sneezing all over the salads. The kids yell “gross” and then leave the table.  Still the one point.

Eventually the waiter comes out and takes one of the bowls back into the kitchen and puts it next to the other bowls of salad. Food for disposal not separated from normal stock – one point.

And that leaves McChunders with one point spare to still have a 3-star rating.


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