Nearly half (49 per cent) of the 894 diners surveyed said that servers topping up already full glasses of wine, take away plates while they are still chewing or repeatedly interrupting to ask if everything is okay deterred them from leaving a tip.
However, ‘uncaring’ waiters were also named as an annoyance for a third of diners, while an untidy appearance, coughing while serving and body odour were unpleasant to a minority of respondents.
In 95 per cent of cases, guests who have had a bad experience because of customer service or other diners don’t leave a tip, and 41 per cent of them post a message on Twitter or Facebook while still in the restaurant.
A third of respondents said they shared their experience on social media or left a negative review on TripAdvisor after getting home, and none of them would return to the venue.
Balanced customer service
“The research reveals that while it’s important for waiters not to neglect customers, being too eager to please can prove even more annoying.
“Dining out should be a time to relax and enjoy good food with pleasant company, so it’s not surprising that having a meal constantly interrupted leaves a bad taste in many diners’ mouths.
“Restaurant owners who want to stay in business would be wise to make sure their customer service is as appealing as their menu, as it’s clear from the study that Brits don’t give second chances,” said Verber.
According to the diners surveyed, a good restaurant has attentive, professional and friendly staff with extensive product and menu knowledge.
In these ‘great restaurant’, all respondents had left a 10 per cent tip and thanked the staff personally.
Almost a quarter (23 per cent) wrote a positive review on Tripadvisor, 31 per cent shared their experience on a social media network, 88 per cent vowed to return, and all recommended the venue to family and friends.
Verber added: “The rise of social media has changed the face of dining out forever as it’s now much easier to read about diners’ experiences, good and bad.
“Restaurants need to fully consider the impact of negative reviews in a social context as personal recommendation and word-of-mouth are key to driving new business.”