Food safety

Diners prefer rude staff to dirty premises, research shows

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Food hygiene is more important to consumers than good service
Food hygiene is more important to consumers than good service

Related tags Food hygiene Food safety Food standards agency

Diners would sooner put up with rude staff than a dirty or unclean venue, according to new research that revealed 61% of UK consumers wouldn’t risk eating in an establishment that had a low Food Standards Agency hygiene rating.

The poll of 1,000 consumers, carried out by, also showed that three quarters (75%) of those asked would not visit a food business – a pub, restaurant, coffee shop, etc… – that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident.

Almost two thirds (66%) of those asked also rated unclean or dirty premises as the top reasons for not returning, while just 16% and 32% respectively said poor service or rude and unhelpful staff would put them off.

‘Michelin-starred restaurant’

Would you dine in a venue that has been implicated in a food hygiene incident? marketing director Dee Roche said: “It doesn’t matter if you are a Michelin-starred restaurant or a local takeaway – consumers will not tolerate poor food hygiene and will vote with their feet if you have been implicated in a food hygiene incident.

“This demonstrates the enormous impact that poor food safety has on a business’s survival – how could you cope with 61% of your customers boycotting your premises?”

Food hygiene standards were among the most important factors for whether a customer would dine at your venue or not, said managing director David Davies.

It was therefore essential operators ensured they could do everything possible to comply with regulatory guidelines. “The consequences could be dire,” he added.

The pub trade

In the pub trade, for instance, a chef and a manager have recently been jailed for falsifying safety records and a pub chain received a fine of £1.5 million when a woman died from food poisoning after eating a Christmas dinner.

Meanwhile, safety advisor to the British Hospitality Association Dr Lisa Ackerley outlined five common food safety and hygiene slip-ups​ made in pub kitchens.

She told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ some pubs were poor at putting in place systems to avoid cross-contamination, ensuring staff washed their hands and even knowing what’s in the food they served.

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