A MYSTERY Dining Company Survey has revealed that restaurant goers rate cleanliness as highly as good food.
The study found that staff and cleanliness are equally high on the agenda for customers, with 60 per cent reporting they would not return to a dirty restaurant or one that employed rude staff.
The survey revealed diners judge the standards in the kitchen by the front of house areas, and indifferent or off-hand approaches by staff toward customers was declared a big turn off.
Customers did display some sympathy though when it came to a lack of knowledge in staff, and the survey showed people are patient with slow arrival of food as long as it tasted good and staff were friendly.
Bathroom facilities were proved important, with 15 per cent of respondents unlikely to return somewhere with unclean toilets.
A very small proportion of respondents said they’d be put off by a child unfriendly restaurant, and money off promotions proved to have minimal effect on encouraging repeat business.
The Mystery Dining Company provides field-based operational and marketing research for the hospitality industry
Sally Whelan, director of The Mystery Dining Company said: “Consumers are increasingly expecting ‘added value’ from a dining experience, which can very often be overlooked by a business.
“This study has highlighted the range and variety of factors that can influence any diner and the opportunities that can be capitalised on to generate repeat business. General consumer trends such as people wanting more experiences in their lives are feeding into the changing customer expectations when eating out. Today, factors such as atmosphere are also now incredibly important and can really help not only to differentiate a restaurant but also to build a loyal, regular customer base.”