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Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel in Dartford bounces back from one-star food hygiene rating to five


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A hotel has bounced back from receiving a one-star food hygiene rating to earn a full five stars.

Manager Andy Purkis said he was happy with the turnaround, as he knew they were "better than that".

Manager Andy Purkis said structural matters were the reason behind the poor review. Picture: Chris Davey
Manager Andy Purkis said structural matters were the reason behind the poor review. Picture: Chris Davey

Dartford's Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel was given a one-star evaluation after an inspection in March, with officials saying it needed "major improvement".

A letter from an inspector said the business "fell well short of the standards required by the regulations and the council may take formal actions if improvements are not achieved quickly".

The document stressed the urgency in upgrading the structure and cleanliness of the building.

Mr Purkis and his team managed to make all changes cited in the report, and could not be happier with the new evaluation.

He said: "It feels good. We got all the work done and sorted everything that was asked of us by the council. The inspector came back and was happy with everything we've done.

The latest inspection awarded the hotel a five-star food hygiene rating. Picture: Andy Purkis
The latest inspection awarded the hotel a five-star food hygiene rating. Picture: Andy Purkis

"We got a one but we knew we were better than that. We were going to move forward, get on with it, and get the work done."

The latest inspection was conducted on May 17 and concluded there were no specific legal contraventions identified at the time.

The report only listed one recommendation, which was to slightly adjust the temperature in one of the fridges, so that food was between 1C and 5C.

All inspection matters received the best possible marking. These include food hygiene and safety procedures, structure, and confidence in hygiene management.

Mr Purkis said this was the first time the building had received such a high score.

The kitchen at the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel. Picture: Andy Purkis
The kitchen at the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel. Picture: Andy Purkis

He said: "When we took it on in 2017, we came here with a one-star rating. We then had our first inspection and moved it up to a three.

"Our customers are pleased and they know we got a five and work has been done."

Despite operating under a one-star rating until this week, Mr Purkis said the Royal Victoria and Bull had not seem a drop in custom.

He said: "Having a one-star did not affect business as one would expect.

"Since we were given the one-out-of-five, we've never been so busy, and that's with a one – so you can imagine how it'll be with the five."

When asked what his message was to other businesses in a similar situation, the hotel manager said: "The environmental health officers are not the enemy. They can also be your friend.

"If you work with them, you can reap the benefits like we did."

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