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What are the biggest restaurant bugbears?

From dishes arriving cold to being unable to split the bill, a new report has shed light on the issues that customers find most irritating when going out for a meal.

The GO Technology survey from Zonal and CGA by NIQ uncovered that the biggest bugbear for consumers by far are, jointly, a long wait for the food to arrive and hot food arriving cold, with 91% of those surveyed finding these annoying.

Interestingly, 83% found missing or out-of-date menus on the restaurant’s website irritating, a possible indication of a growing consumer habit of checking the menu of an establishment before paying a visit.

77% said that another annoyance was being unable to adjust/alter an online booking, with the younger generation particularly infuriated by this. Young people were also particularly annoyed about being unable to split the bill, with 64% of all those surveyed citing it as a gripe – for the younger cohort, this figure was 10% higher.

55% suggested that ‘broken promises’, such as unhonoured discounts, were a source of frustration.

However, while 61% of those surveyed said that these kind of problems would deter them from visiting again, or at least from visiting frequently, only 39% would tell their friends and family about their bad experience, suggesting that word of mouth perhaps does not matter quite as much as we may think.

Damningly, despite many restaurateurs suggesting that customers who are unhappy should make their feelings known while dining, and not on TripAdvisor afterwards, only 53% would complain at the time of the incident – though for the over-65s, that figure is 16% higher.

The issue of TripAdvisor is a contentious one – while it is the first port of call for many consumers before they visit a hospitality business, for the owners of these establishments, it can be their biggest bugbear, but can a bad review actually shut a restaurant?

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