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Rushed service biggest turn-off for diners

By Emma Eversham+ , 14-Mar-2016
Last updated on 15-Mar-2016 at 11:44 GMT2016-03-15T11:44:37Z

Rushed service puts more than a quarter of diners off a restaurant according to Waitrose Good Food Guide's Dining Out Survey. Photo: Thinkstock/Maxin Kabb
Rushed service puts more than a quarter of diners off a restaurant according to Waitrose Good Food Guide's Dining Out Survey. Photo: Thinkstock/Maxin Kabb

Being rushed through a meal to give up a table is the biggest annoyance for 26 per cent of diners, while staff getting an order wrong is also likely to make 25 per cent of them grumpy according to survey by Waitrose Good Food Guide. 

Other service faux pas, according to the survey of 2,000 people, include waiting staff making diners feel they aren't posh enough (22 per cent) and being asked if their meal is ok when they have a mouthful of food (10 per cent). 

Diners were also questioned over the much-debated service charge with 59 per cent saying they would ask for it to be removed following a bad dining experience. However, older diners (over 55s) were more like to ask (66 per cent) than younger ones with only 47 per cent of 18-24 year-olds willing to get it removed. 

Other findings from the Dining Out Survey included preferences for tap water, doggy bags and an a la carte menu.

Eighty per cent of diners said tap water should automatically be put on the table while 57 per cent said they would like to be offered a doggy bag at the end of a meal and, despite the recent trend for set menu only restaurants, 55 per cent of diners said they wanted the flexibility to choose what they wanted.  

Independent support

The survey, released to coincide with the start of the Good Food Guide's search for the UK's Local Restaurant of the Year, found that supporting the community was the main reason people (22 per cent) ate at their local restaurant while 20 per cent believe food is more authentic within an independent eatery. 

Independents looking to gain loyalty from customers were told to simply offer a point of difference from the chains according to 40 per cent diners while 38 per cent said they'd be swayed by a birthday treat of a glass of bubbles. Thirty-three per cent said championing of local produce was their biggest pull when dining out in their neighbourhood restaurant.

Waitrose Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter, said: "While there’s no doubt that diners are looking for excellent value from their local restaurants - 80 per cent said free tap water should automatically be put on the table – being rushed through a meal is their biggest annoyance. As a regular victim of the two-hour booking slot and that other common wheeze, the second sitting, I believe local restaurants can offer genuine value, and a point of difference, by giving diners the time to enjoy a meal at a pace that suits them."

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