British restaurant diners name top three service “pet peeves”

16th March 2020

PaymentSense, the restaurant payment platform, published its annual Restaurants Insights 2020: The Inside Story on Eating Out, which highlighted the opinions of nearly 2,000 UK restaurant diners and what really gets on their nerves when dining out.

According to 3POS:

“When reading the report, you realise just how much we, as a nation, love to eat out. Every year, 50 million adults in Great Britain visit some kind of eating establishment at least once and three-quarters of us do so at least once-a-month. That’s a grand total of 2.4 billion eating-out occasions each year.

Young people are especially keen, with almost half of all young singles, couples and families eating out at least once a week. This compares to just a quarter of older couples and retired people.

The sheer size of the market suggests there are still plenty of opportunities for growth especially for those restaurants that continue to improve their service and exploit new business opportunities.

However, the report also highlights five major frustrations that affect consumers’ dining experiences. 

1) Waiting too long for food

Waiting is intrinsic to the restaurant experience. We wait for our table, wait to order, wait for the food and wait for the bill but in this age of instant gratification and one-click internet ordering, our patience is wearing thin. Asked about their top frustration when eating out, 59% of respondents mentioned the wait for their food. 

Interestingly, this frustration isn’t limited to millennials. Older people are, in fact, the most likely group to grow frustrated with waiting. So, restaurants with an older demographic should take action on this if they want to encourage these customers back more often. 

2) Rude staff 

Years after the famously rude hotel owner Basil Fawlty first appeared on our TV screens in the hit comedy Fawlty Towers, British service culture still has a bad reputation. Indeed, over half of all consumers (51%) in the report state that dealing with rude staff is their biggest frustration when dining out. 

Interestingly, younger restaurant-goers are even less tolerant of rude staff than other diners. 54% of them rate it their key frustration, higher than retired people and older couples, both on 49%. 

Nor is this the only evidence regarding the importance of well-trained, polite staff. The research also found that, when choosing a restaurant, 71% of consumers see good customer service as important or very important. So, it’s an even bigger consideration than price (68%) or cuisine (69%).

3) Restaurants that are too busy 

A busy restaurant is a sign of success. However, for many diners, it also indicates they’ll have a long wait for their food, which nearly one third (30%) of all consumers claim is their biggest frustration. This was especially noted among younger single people (45%).

While most restaurants would want to be busy, perhaps there’s a case for ensuring that staffing levels and service standards keep pace with any increase in popularity.”

Other key findings from the report highlight how customers find empty restaurants to be “off-putting” along with the inability to book in advance or cater to allergies. One major issue was venues not having the capability to split the bill which found over 50% of patrons utilising this function when it was available.

As patrons become more impatient, EPoS systems need to be leveraged to help drive the right functionality to help counter negative frustrations and help improve staff engagement and build upon a more positive brand experience.  At Astaris, we can install and maintain reliable networks to keep your EPoS working when you need it.