It’s official – the UK public will no longer tolerate restaurants, cafes and eateries that don’t score high marks in hygiene stakes. In fact, the vast majority would be willing to put up with poor service, just as long as the restaurant’s food hygiene rating was sufficiently high.
According to the results of a new poll carried out by Checkit.net, a full 61% of people said that they wouldn’t even consider eating at a restaurant that didn’t score well with the Food Standards Agency. In addition, 75% said they’d never eat at a restaurant again, if it was to be involved in any kind of food hygiene incident. And that includes restaurants tried, trusted and recommended by friends or family members.
Over recent years, campaign groups have been lobbying both the industry and the government for a critical overhaul of the way in which food hygiene ratings are both awarded and displayed by eateries at all levels.
Additional findings in the study included the apparent willingness to accept slow service and rude staff, rather than eat in a dirty restaurant. A full 66% said that an unclean restaurant would represent either their first or second reason for never returning a second time. By contrast, slow service only puts around 16% of diners off giving the place another go.
In terms of food hygiene incidents, the effect that can have on the opinions and choices of customers is nothing short of catastrophic. While 75% said they’d refuse to take the chance of visiting the place, 43% said they’d never go there again under any circumstances and just 32% said they’d consider going back if it was first shut down and then opened again under new management. 22% stated that they would return if the place was given a much strong food hygiene rating.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a Michelin starred restaurant or a local takeaway – consumers will not tolerate poor food hygiene and will vote with their feet if a restaurant has been implicated in a food hygiene incident,” commented Dee Roche, Marketing Director, Checkit.net.
“This demonstrates the enormous impact that poor food safety has on business survival – how could you cope with 61% of your customers boycotting your restaurant? These findings are a wake up call to those restaurants that think that food safety is not a customer priority – diners rate hygiene as the number one reason, above service or rude staff when it comes to choosing whether to return to a restaurant.”