One in five UK diners consider waiting too long for their meals the most irritating thing about eating out, according to new research.
The study, conducted by Quadranet, revealed that, as a nation, our bug bears when dining out also include inattentive staff and things on the menu not being available to order.
CEO of Quadranet Systems, John Trueman, said: “Fewer consumers are going out to eat nowadays, due to increases in the cost of living and families needing to pinch the pennies. This means that, when they do, it is important that the experience is a good one.
“It has been a rough few years for the hospitality industry, but that’s no excuse for restaurateurs to rest on their laurels. On the contrary, the industry needs to be working ever harder to meet diners’ expectations.”
The entrepreneur behind Quadranet, which specialises in guest management systems, believes that the only way the hospitality industry can improve the dining experience for UK consumers is to embrace technology in the same way that the retail industry has.
“In recent years, supermarkets have made huge strides in terms of customer experience online grocery shopping, for example, has become a simpler, slicker process for shoppers, and this is down to smart technology, which gets to ‘know’ its customers. There is no reason the hospitality industry shouldn’t be following retail’s lead in this way.”
The study revealed that when diners are able to go out was not an issue: less than 1% are bothered about not being able to get a table on their preferred day or time.
“This just goes to show that it is the experience that is being judged by diners, not the timings,” commented John. “Many restaurant managers get hung up on booking systems, but if their attention was instead focused on delivering a slick, customised experience for their guests, they would be more likely to get repeat business.”
Allergies or preferences – such as gluten-free or vegetarian – not being accommodated for on the menu is a bigger issue for those in the East of England than anywhere else; 11% of diners there said that this was the most irritating thing when eating out, compared to just 2% of Welsh diners.