A popular York café has successfully taken action to gain a top rating for food hygiene.

The move follows Cocoa Joes in Museum Street receiving a one-star rating from council inspectors after they called in June.

The rating, meaning ‘major improvements necessary’, stemmed from defects including a lack of record keeping, a handwash basin being used for washing equipment and the dishwasher, fridge and coffee machine not being clean enough.

Now, following a re-inspection earlier this month, it has 5-stars, meaning ‘very good’.


Director Joseph Andrew says the café took immediate action to remedy matters.

He told the Press: “We have put a fresh food safety policy in place, with a particular emphasis on staff training, documentation, and regular daily checks on hardware around the shop.”

Though cleanliness was not a main concern in the first inspection, the time given to cleaning has been doubled, with the café manager “overhauling everything from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned.”

Joseph says City of York Council was helpful in identifying areas to address (mainly documentation and staff training).

“It's a big relief to see that they approve of our new approach,” he continued.

York Press: Joseph Andrew

The popular café, which has rave reviews on Tripadvisor, did receive some comments from customers about the one-star rating.

Joseph continued: “Something we do have in our favour is that everything is prepared on the shop floor right in front of the customers, so the process of drink making can be watched from start to finish.

“We find this is a lot more reassuring than an establishment where food comes out of a kitchen door and customers cannot be sure of how it was prepared. Therefore, in general our customers were quite understanding. When asked however, we had promised to our regulars that we would have a 5 on the door in the very near future so it's a relief to put our money where our mouth is!”

Joseph added: “That being said having a good rating is still extremely important to us, especially in a city such as York with so many great cafes to choose from as for many people it can be a key deciding factor as to where they choose to spend their time.”

Matt Boxall, Head of Public Protection at City of York Council, said: “Consumers need to rely on high standards of food hygiene at the premises they use and can check their ratings at http://ratings.food.gov.uk/ .
“Our officers investigate the reasons for poor hygiene, advise on improvements and take proportionate enforcement action. In this instance, following a previous inspection that revealed areas of non-compliance, the business requested a food safety re-inspection.

“While guidance and advice is freely available for all food-related businesses, any business wanting tailored support can contact us at public.protection@york.gov.uk or on (01904) 551525 for further help and advice.”