According to a poll of 3,000 Brits by the shopping website VoucherCodes.co.uk, 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 VoucherCodes.co.uk.
“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.
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.