Research conducted into why people recommend somewhere to eat has found that good customer service and value for money tops the bill.
The findings from training body the National Skills Academy for Hospitality showed that the public rate quality and value for money as the most important part of eating out.
The mystery shopper research, which was undertaken before and after the summer, tested customer service in over 700 hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafés nationally.
Twenty-eight per cent of customers said warmth or service was important, 31 per cent said good value for money. Of those sites visited, the average score for customer service was 75 per cent. David McHattie, chief executive of the Academy, said the findings were especially important at the moment, as people opt to stay in the UK for their holidays instead of travelling abroad.
He pointed to research from Visit England that suggests 72 per cent of UK residents said they would be taking a holiday in the UK in 2010.
"The 2009 recession-borne 'staycation' has provided a valuable opportunity for hotels, restaurants and pubs to demonstrate they can deliver excellent customer service," he said.
"But there can be no resting on laurels, especially as disposable income in 2010 may well need to be re-named 'discerningly spent income'. Businesses that will prosper in 2010 will be those that excel in customer service and deliver perceived value, exceeding the expectations of even the most discerning guests."
• The Academy's role is to identify, endorse and promote skills training in hospitality. For more details go to www.hospitalityskillsacademy.co.uk