Have you ever watched Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, the British version of Chef Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant restoration show? Before American producers turned Gordon Ramsey into a yelling, screaming Hell’s Kitchen version of himself?
In Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsey helps struggling restaurants, usually on the brink of failure, set up business and food standards that will keep them open and provides them with the tools they need to achieve success. Often times the folks he’s helping have no purpose being restaurant owners and tend to be lazy and look for shortcuts in every aspect of their businesses. Laziness of any kind in the food industry is about as healthy as spike strips are for your car tires. The absolute worst part of that show is when they start looking into the cleanliness of the kitchen area. The images of poor food storage, lack of sanitation, mold… ok I’ll stop there. Yuck!
It made me very conscious of the types of places I go to eat and the different resources available to look into restaurant reputations. My favorite is Yelp, and Emily Badger highlights the reasons why it is a great asset to health inspectors and the public in the article below.
I love the idea of city governments farming the data on various websites and social media outlets to better the community. It’ll be interesting to see what other ways local governments can utilize consumer platforms to focus energy or enact policies for positive change.
From the consumer side, Yelp has become such an asset because it provides the opportunity to make better decisions based on peer reviews and a 1-5 star rating system. Trying to come up with an equivalent metric for government makes me think of a joke Robin Williams used in a stand-up routine once. He said something along the lines of:
If we want to know how congressmen and senators are going to vote, they should actually have to wear jackets like NASCAR drivers with the names of all the people who are sponsoring them. Then you might have a clue as to why the voted a certain way. Big pharmaceutical company; got it! Thank you!
I’ve always thought that to be a funny idea but it actually would provide the similar practical benefit that Yelp does. Sponsorship jackets would be one small way to provide people information about politicians that would hold them publicly accountable for their actions and allow individuals the well informed opportunity to form or change their opinions.
This raises some questions in my mind: Is local government expected a certain standard for public accountability? How can social media play a part in this? If, when and where do you draw the line on how this information affects your decision making?
Help me discuss these questions below and on Twitter: @joshg22. Also thoroughly read through this Jurassic Park Yelp page, because it is a gold mine of greatness.