Bad restaurant service results in eat-and-run, finds survey

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Eating, Food, Restaurant

14 per cent of British consumers have left restaurants without paying
14 per cent of British consumers have left restaurants without paying
Bad service in restaurants remains the biggest gripe for UK diners, but a new survey has revealed that it also leads many consumers to eat and run.

According to a poll of 3,000 Brits by the shopping website, one in seven diners say they have intentionally left a restaurant without paying.

The reason most frequently cited for restaurant runaways was poor customer service, with 39 per cent of consumers blaming waiting staff for not returning to take payment, 26 per cent saying they were dissatisfied with their food, and 2 per cent refusing to pay because staff were rude to them.

Overall, 14 per cent of all respondents admitted to not paying a restaurant bill.

“With the average British consumer dining out once a week, this presents a serious problem for restaurateurs across the country,” said

“Today dining out is cheaper and more accessible than ever before, meaning people are eating out more regularly and are able to treat themselves to a meal out for less. However it seems that in some cases people are taking moneysaving to the extreme and cutting out paying altogether,” said the site’s co-founder Duncan Jennings.

Restaurant gripes

When asked what they most disliked about eating out, the majority of diners pointed to bad service. Their biggest gripe was inattentive or rude waiting staff, followed by the automatic addition of service charge to a bill.

Third on the restaurant hate-list was being made to pay for tap water, followed by the waiting staff taking away plates before everyone at the table had finished. Another pet hate was being asked for the table back for another sitting.

Related topics: Restaurants, Service, Trends & Reports

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1 comment

Bad restaurant service

Posted by Gerard Stocks,

"It takes two", so they say. I must admit I have only had bad service once or twice, the second was borderline for me. The problem I find generally is people’s attitude towards the waiting staff that causes an atmosphere and promotes bad service. I have found myself in that situation several times and ended up mediating before getting the desired service.
If there is a situation of truly poor service or even worse rudeness and ignorance from the staff then redress should be sort immediately. The 'One' time I felt both the food and staff were beyond acceptable I refused to pay the bill and made a formal complaint. This is regarded as embarrassing for most people. Nobody likes to make a fuss but how will things ever change unless someone does.
The 'possible' second event was from a condescending, arrogant Maitre D (head waiter) in a renowned establishment, whose attitude was unbearable. Needless to say, after complaints from prominent members of my table to the establishment’s owners the offending waiter lost his job. It doesn't matter if it is a Michelin Star restaurant or McDonalds, customer service is paramount and you shouldn't accept less than you deserve for your patronage.

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