A RESTAURANT manager says the business has made significant improvements after receiving a zero food hygiene rating at the end of October.

Panama Jacks in Angel Street, Worcester, was given the worst possible rating after an inspection on October 30, not long after the American-themed restaurant opened.

A report from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, published on the Food Standards Agency website last week, said that “urgent improvement” was necessary in the “hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.”

The report said that “major improvement” was needed in the management of food safety, but the inspector said the “cleanliness and condition of the facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control)” was “generally satisfactory”.

Panama Jacks’ new manager said that standards were clearly not good enough during the inspection on October 30 and that the staff in charge at that time had since left the business.

The new manager has been in charge at Panama Jacks for two weeks and asked not to be named because he didn’t want to be associated with the poor hygiene level found during the inspection in October.

He said: “The zero rating was deserved at the time, I understand. I know with confidence that we are running at a high compliance level now.

“If we were inspected again now, I’m confident we’d get at least a four rating (out of five). I have been in the industry for 10 years and have never had below a four.

“I ran Coffee #1 in Worcester for a year previously and had a five rating.”

He added: “There have been several appointments of managers here – I’m the third – and we are on our third head chef.

“I can guarantee that if the inspectors walked through that door today, we would get a four or five star rating.”

Panama Jacks opened in October in the unit formerly occupied by U Canteen Chinese restaurant, which closed abruptly in June after six months of trading. Prior to that, Angel Chef Chinese buffet was at the site.

Read more: Food critic impressed by Panama Jacks