A restaurant boss hit with a one-star food hygiene rating has pledged to ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ as he found his business suspended from online ordering sites .
Staff at Tilucks II in Sandgate High Street, near Folkestone, discovered over the weekend that their business was blocked on sites such as JustEat and Deliveroo.
As the rating was made public over the weekend, people took to social media to discuss it.
And Darren Weller, the owner of the Thai restaurant, spoke to KentOnline and told how communication lines with the delivery giants were abruptly shut down.
“They shut down all their machines so we lost a lot of business, we use Deliveroo and JustEat and sites like that, but they’ve taken us out now,” he said.
It comes after inspectors this month gave the restaurant a low food hygiene score of one after its visit last year. Five is the highest rating and the lowest rating is zero. One of them indicates that a major improvement is needed.
But staff were “completely unaware” that their previous five-star rating had dropped over the weekend, with the council “not telling us”, Mr Weller said.
Inspectors found “major improvements needed” in food safety management. This includes the systems in place to ensure that food is safe to eat and that staff are knowledgeable about food safety.
The Food Standards Agency website also reports that improvements are needed for the cleanliness and condition of the building, as well as the hygienic handling of food.
Areas covered in these two categories include ventilation, hand washing, building layout, as well as how food is prepared, stored and reheated.
Mr Weller explained that the inspectors were in the restaurant during a change of chef where “some things may have been out of place”.
“We’ve been trading for over 10 years and we’ve never had a bad report and last night one of our clients told us about it.
“We have five stars for 10 years, I don’t understand why it’s only one star, the kitchen is really clean.
“[When inspectors visited] some things in the kitchen may have been in different places than usual.
“But I really want to get to the bottom of what happened here,” he added.
Mr Weller added that a breakdown in communication with Folkestone and Hythe District Council left his team in the dark with no one available to speak over the weekend.
However, he is keen to speak to the authorities and “smooth out the creases” if no mistakes were made, he explained.
“We’ll get them back and we’ll be back to five stars in two months,” he said.
The takeaway, which highlights its massaman curry as particularly standout on its website, has received a mixed bag of reviews.
Sandgate’s only Thai restaurant has been awarded 3.5 stars, with many opinions polarized.
One visitor wrote: “This was an unplanned visit for a family of six made up of three generations.
“We had a mix of Thai dishes and everything was delicious. My kids loved the food and my uncle couldn’t even eat it all, the staff were amazing.
Another added: “Tried for the first time, after spending a year irritated by the ‘dogs welcome, people tolerated’ and weird plants outside.
“The weirdness continued inside, with the dismissive staff we had even walked into. The food was mediocre. The place looks tired and unloved.