NYC Restaurants Are “Improving” Just Don't Read About The Violations

By: Robert Ayala

Interactive Data Visualizations Below

The City of New York provides detailed information regarding their grading/scoring of NYC’s restaurants.  The City has been building out this database since 2009 and is currently tracking more than 25,000 of the City’s restaurants.  Each restaurant’s score, violations, grades, and inspection dates are tracked, which allow for detailed analyses and data visualization opportunities.  Here is a chart that details how restaurants are graded, keep in mind that you want a low score:

7 points for a Public Health Violation;
5 points for a Critical Violation;
2 points for a General Violation; and
Additional Points Based On Severity of Violation

A = 0 - 13 points
B = 14 - 27 points
C = 28+ points
P = Score Pending
Z = Closed

This grading scale is interesting because a restaurant can have both a Public Health and Critical Violation yet still maintain an “A” rating.  As you will see below, some of the violations are unsettling.

NYC restaurants as a whole have decreased their score from 16 to 13.9, which shows improvement.  It would be great to have data regarding which inspector graded each restaurant to see which inspectors are more thorough and which tend to be lenient, but that information is not being collected.  I have created three interactive visualizations from this data set which appear below by applying data transformation, analytics, and visualization methods.   

NYC Restaurant Review: 

Pick your favorite restaurant and see what violations they have!

This interactive visualization allows you to pick any restaurant in NYC, see their score/grade over time, latest grade, latest violations, and the average score of restaurants in the same zip code.

I have noticed that many restaurants who receive a poor grade improve drastically for their next grading but tend to deteriorate back down to a poor grade eventually, and repeat this process.

If a restaurant has multiple locations, click on the location in the legend to see a highlighted view.


NYC Restaurant Overview:

This dashboard displays each zip code in NYC and the average score of restaurants in the zip code.  It also depicts the average score of all restaurants in NYC over time, as well as the grossest violations that occur and the number of times those violations have occurred.

You can zoom in on the map, select a certain area, or hover over different zip codes to get more information.

NYC Restaurant Cuisine:

This depicts the restaurants in NYC by cuisine; showing the number of restaurants, the average score of those restaurants, and the percentage of total restaurants in NYC. 

Select the cuisine from the legend to highlight, and then place the cursor over it to access additional information.

Thank you for taking the time to explore Data Samurai and this blog post about NYC Restaurants.  If you have any questions or just want to talk data, feel free to e-mail me: or leave a comment below!