Chris Peoples and Jake Van Dyke of Augusta went to look up health inspection scores for some local restaurants.
They found a state website providing restaurant inspection reports, but it was not user-friendly, they say.
Inspired by this problem, the two friends came up with an app that puts restaurant inspection scores and grades instantly on a smartphone, tablet or computer. The scores are updated weekly, they say.
The app – called What the Health – debuted in September. It’s free for consumers, and covers restaurants across the state.
“We were sort of surprised at the grades at places we liked to eat,” Peoples said. One that had a low score, he said, “had rodents and bugs in the kitchen.”
The app tracks the closest restaurants to the consumer, gives directions to them and lists the letter grades and numerical grades for each one’s inspections. A reader can click further and find the actual report by public health officials.
Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety in the University of Georgia’s Department of Food Science & Technology, said restaurant scores aren’t perfect and vary among states and inspectors in terms of how well they predict food safety.
But he added that “it’s the best indicator that consumers have available to them. I use them as a point of reference.”
Peoples, 30, whose day job is as a barista at a Starbucks, and Van Dyke, 29, who works for a mobile security company, have formed a company, Modern App Solutions. They hope that advertising on their app will bring in some revenue.
Peoples told GHN that they hope to bring the same app to South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Visit whatthehealthapp.com to download the app.