The search system has many powerful tools to help you find the information you are looking for. Below are some tips on using the site's search capabilities.
Too Much Information
The most common mistake people make when using this or any other search engine is adding too much information in the search fields. Computers are very specific in the way they search for information - they look for exact matches.
"The Good Food Cafe"
123 Maple Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you were looking for information on the restaurant above and listed the complete name and address, you may or may not find it for several reason. Every piece of the address and name adds a limit and tells the search engine to look specifically for that information and only that information. The problem is, that may not be how the information is listed in the database (electronic records) that the Health Department maintains. Let's look at it piece by piece.
If you typed in the name, "The Good Food Cafe" and the listing on file said "Good Food Cafe" without the word "The", you would not find the record. If you typed in "Good Food" your chances are much better. Does the name have an apostrophe? If you are looking for "McDonald's," try "McDonalds" without an apostrophe.
There can be many variables that can cause a non-match when addresses are involved. In the example listed above, if you listed "123 Maple Drive" and the system had the address listed as "123 Maple Dr." you would not find the restaurant. In this example, "Drive" was used instead of "Dr." If the restaurant is on a corner, do you have the correct street?
What about the city? If you typed in "Los Angeles" and the city was actually "Hollywood", again you would not get a result. The same goes for the zip code.
Restaurants in malls, shopping centers, and other large buildings usually have an address on one of the surrounding streets that borders the property.
If you're not sure of the street number or zip code, do not list it. Remember, the computer is looking for exact matches.
Too many Fields
It is recommended that you complete the search fields with very basic and limited information. If you get too many results, then add a little more at a time until you get what you are looking for. In the example above, try using "Good Food" and also add "Maple" in the address box. This technique works for many of the larger chain restaurants. If you were looking for a specific "McDonalds," typing in the name and the street will usually give you the results you want.
You do not have to enter a score in the score area of the search page. This too can be a limiting factor in your search. If you are looking for a specific restaurant and you checked "Score of 90 to 100" you would not get a result if the restaurant scored anything less than an "A."
Display Search Results
Using this pull down menu does not add any limiting factors to your search. It just allows you to sort the results by Establishment (Alphabetically), Inspection Date, Score, Zip Code, or City. If you check the box that says "Include all surrounding Zips" any zip code that borders the zip code entered will be included in the results.
Try experimenting with the search engine and its capabilities. For example, you can find all the "A" restaurants on a particular street and sort the results by the last inspection date. Type in a street name without an address and you will find all the restaurants on that street. You can do the same for any of the fields.