Survey reveals consumers' biggest hospitality gripes

Speed of service and hot food being served cold are two of the biggest points of friction for restaurant, pub and bar customers, according to Zonal's latest GO Technology report, delivered in partnership with CGA by NIQ

The survey of more than 5,000 British adults highlights punters' biggest grievances when going out for food and drink. When asked what the top five bugbears are, the following factors came out on top:

  1. A long wait for food and drink (91%)
  2. Hot food served cold (91%)
  3. Broken promises on a special deal/loyalty discount (88%)
  4. Food served at different times (87%)
  5. Waiting for their table to become available (86%)

Other frustrations mentioned in the study include items being out of stock (82%), menus being difficult to use/read (82%) and staff not having enough knowledge (80%). Additionally, consumers find having to wait to receive and settle the bill (77%) or not being able to split the bill (64%) frustrating. 

The results also highlight customers' top pre-visit frustrations. More than four in five find poor information, such as out-of-date or missing menus online, annoying. Booking platforms are another point of contention, with over three-quarters saying not being able to cancel or amend a booking is their biggest bugbear (77%). Alarmingly, three in five (61%) of those who found it difficult to amend a booking online said it would cause them to find somewhere else to go or think twice about visiting the venue in the future. 

This highlights how important the pre-visit element of the overall experience is. By addressing potential pre-visit grievances early on, operators can retain customers and avoid losing valuable business.

Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food at CGA, says of the findings: "The large majority of consumers' visits to restaurants, pubs and bars are happy and hassle-free. But things inevitably go wrong sometimes, and this GO Technology research shows the damage that poor experiences can do to venues' sales and reputation.

"From researching a visit to paying the bill, understanding where and how frustrations emerge along the guest journey is the first step towards fixing them, and by getting on the front foot, operators will effectively remedy annoyances. No operator is able to get everything right all of the time, but the best ones turn problems into solutions and negatives into positives."

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