According to research from Checkit.net, almost two thirds of customers (66%) will refuse to eat at a pub, restaurant or similar business that has a low food hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Additionally, 75% said they would never risk dining at any business that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident even if that business had been recommended to them by someone they trust.
Dee Roche, marketing director at Checkit.net, said: "Food hygiene is the number one priority for consumers when eating out, meaning our research should act as a wake-up call for those restaurants in London with poor food hygiene ratings."
According to statistics from the FSA, Newham is the worst borough in London for food hygiene with 31% of its food businesses having a food hygiene rating of two or less.
Food safety is priority
Kensington & Chelsea and Bexley were found to have the fewest number of low-rated businesses. Roughly 5% of businesses in each borough had a rating of two or less.
Pubs and restaurants performed far better than takeaways and sandwich shops on average, with 22% of takeaways and sandwich shops requiring improvement.
"These findings show why food safety is priority – customers rate hygiene as the number one reason, above service or rude staff, when it comes to choosing whether to return to a restaurant," added Roche.
The Local Government Authority (LGA) recently called for legislation that would make it mandatory for all businesses that serve food to display their food hygiene rating on the door for customers.
Such legislation already is in place in Wales and Northern Ireland but is yet to be introduced in England.
A spokesperson for the FSA told the Publican's Morning Advertiser that the agency "very much" favoured making displaying ratings mandatory because it would not just be better for consumers but would incentivise businesses to achieve higher standards.