Long waits and cold food pubgoers biggest gripes

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer opinions: the report shows what customers find most annoying when eating and drinking out (image: Getty/Drazen Zigic)
Consumer opinions: the report shows what customers find most annoying when eating and drinking out (image: Getty/Drazen Zigic)

Related tags Technology Food

Some 91% of hospitality consumers cited a long wait for food or drink and hot food being served cold were their biggest bugbears when eating and drinking out, research has revealed.

According to Zonal’s latest GO Technology report in partnership with CGA by NIQ, which surveyed more than 5,000 British adults, also highlighted customer’s top pre-visit frustrations.

It found almost half (46%) of consumers find poor information such as out-of-date or missing menus online frustrating.

Moreover, six in 10 (61%) of those who find it difficult to amend a booking online said it would cause them to find somewhere else to visit or think twice about going to the venue in the future.

Higher expectations

Top five customer bugbears:

Waiting a long time for food and drink

Hot food served cold

Broken promises on a special deal/loyalty discount

Food served at different times

Waiting for their table to become available

Zonal chief commercial officer Tim Chapman said: “Consumers are becoming more expectant of the venues they visit and demand an even higher level of service so it is vital operators deliver on this.

“Venues that don’t tackle these issues head on, run the risk of losing customers and ultimately damaging their bottom line.

“Technology can act as a helping hand in supporting operators meet the demands of consumers.

“Online booking systems and digital kitchen management tools can help automate services that would otherwise by time consuming or laborious for staff, allowing them to focus on the most important thing – delivering an excellent customer experience.”

As well as wait times and hot food being served cold, customers also outlined a number of other annoyances when visiting hospitality venues.

Remedying annoyance

These included broken promises on a special day or loyalty discount (88%), food being served at different times (87%) and waiting for their table to become available (86%).

On the survey’s findings, CGA by NIQ director of hospitality operators and food EMEA Karl Chessell said: “The large majority of consumers’ visits to restaurants, pubs and bars are happy and hassle-free.

“But things inevitably go wrong sometimes and this research shows the damage poor experience can do to venues’ sales and reputation.

“From researching a visit to paying the bill, understanding where and how frustrations emerge along the guest journey is the first step towards fixing them and by getting on the front foot, operators will effectively remedy annoyance.

“No operator is able to get everything right all of the time but the best ones turn problems into solutions and negatives into positive.”

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