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14th May 2024

Research shines light on Britain’s biggest hospitality ‘bug bears’

Written by: Edward Waddell
Speed of service and being served cold food are the biggest points of friction for pub, bar and restaurant customers according to research from Zonal’s latest GO Technology report in partnership with CGA by NIQ.

The survey of more than 5,000 British adults, highlighted customers’ biggest annoyances when going out for food and drink and what can be done to fix them. When asked what the top five 'bug bears' are, the following reasons came out on top:

  1. A long wait for food and drink (91%)
  2. Hot food served cold (91%)
  3. Broken promises on a special deal/loyalty discount (88%)
  4. Food served at different times (87%)
  5. Waiting for their table to become available (86%)

Other frustrations mentioned include items being out of stock (82%), menus being difficult to use (82%) and staff not having enough knowledge (80%). Respondents also find having to wait to receive and settle the bill (77%) or not being able to split the bill (64%) frustrating. More than four in five find poor information, such as out-of-date or missing menus online frustrating.

Booking platforms are also a point of annoyance, with over three-quarters saying not being able to cancel or amend a booking is their biggest 'bug bear' (77%). Three in five (61%) of those who found it difficult to amend a booking online, said it would cause them to find somewhere else to go or think twice about visiting the venue in the future.

Tim Chapman, chief commercial officer at Zonal, said: “Consumers are becoming more expectant of the venues they visit and demand an even higher level of service, so it’s vital that 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 to automate services that would otherwise be time consuming or laborious for staff, allowing them to focus on the most important thing – delivering an excellent customer experience.”