Liverpool’s Bierkeller complex has revealed it spent more than £500,000 on structural and design issues, and a full independent kitchen review, after being given a one-star hygiene rating by the Food Standards Agency.
The Liverpool One venue – made up of Bierkeller, Shooters and Around the World – is keen to reassure customers it didn’t score poorly because of dirty premises.
And, while other restaurants in the centre closed down due to rat infestation problems, it was able to stay open and receive a clean bill of health from pest control assessors.
“The rating was actually given to us after an inspection 18 months ago, but most of the issues were involving structural work in the venue and non-compliance of paperwork,” explained group executive chef Kevin Hill.
“There was quite a bit of structural work required, but that was carried out within a month of the visit by the council hygiene team which does the rating. We have a different head chef, different kitchen layout and a different way of operating so everything has changed over the past 18 months.”
Bierkeller was named as one of 127 restaurants, cafes and bars in Liverpool to be given just one star on the most recent list.
Kevin said he understood why some customers might be worried by the low score, but wanted to reassure them.
“It does naturally lead people to the conclusion that we have dirty kitchens which absolutely isn’t the case, they’re spotless,” he insisted. “Something like this can be very damaging to a restaurant’s reputation, cleanliness is so important to customers and I understand that – if I saw a place had a one-star rating, I wouldn’t go in myself.
“But we want people to be aware of what we’ve done since this inspection was carried out. I invited the inspectors back about four or five months ago, but they’ve not been able to come yet so in the meantime I’ve got two consultants who worked as environmental health officers for 25 years to come in every quarter and check all our venues. They give us a rating based on what we would get under an official inspection and we’re confident now that we could achieve a five-star rating.”
Allan Harper, CEO of the Burning Night Group which owns the Bierkeller complex, said he was assured the Liverpool venue now meets the standards of the FSA and their own business.
“Obviously it was totally unacceptable to us as a company to be given a one-star rating and we took our duty of care to correct that very seriously,” he added. “We’re satisfied now that we’ve done everything that was needed.”