Its survey of more than 200 regular restaurant goers revealed that nearly 50 per cent of diners consider a meal ruined if they feel that staff are rushing them out and are unlikely to return to the venue.
Overzealous table turning is a common occurrence, with three quarters of diners reporting being rushed through a meal at some point and just under half of respondents claiming it happened once in every 10 restaurant visits.
There are mixed feelings about split sittings – the practice of dividing a service into two at high-end restaurants – with roughly two thirds in favour and one third against.
Sally Whelan, co-founder of The Mystery Dining Company, says that most diners understand that restaurants often need to turn tables for the business to be viable but want it done sympathetically.
“Efficiently-run operations with a good product are generally okay,” she said. “It’s only when it’s done badly or insensitively that it becomes a problem.”
See the June edition of Restaurant magazine, out today, for the inside track on turning tables without upsetting customers.