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Food Hygiene is Number One Priority For Consumers When Eating Out

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Food Hygiene is Number One Priority For Consumers When Eating Out

Food Hygiene is Number One Priority For Consumers When Eating Out
May 04
10:04 2016

UK consumers are united in not tolerating poor food hygiene ratings and simply will not visit businesses that have had food safety issues. Three quarters (75%) said they wouldn’t risk dining at an establishment that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident, even if recommended by someone that they trust, whilst 61% would not eat at a restaurant, takeaway, coffee shop or pub that has a low Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating.

These are the headline findings of UK consumer research carried out by Checkit.net, which also found that diners would rather put up with poor service from rude and unhelpful staff than eat at dirty restaurants. 66% of respondents rated unclean or dirty premises as the first or second reason for not returning to an eatery. Just 16% cited slow or poor service and 32% said rude or unhelpful staff would stop them coming back.

The impact of being implicated in a food hygiene incident can be catastrophic for any food service business. Of the 75% of consumers that wouldn’t risk a visit, 43% said they’d never dine there, no matter what, while 32% would only return if it had closed down and reopened under new ownership. A further 22% said they’d only return if the food hygiene rating improved dramatically – illustrating how difficult it is to rebuild consumer confidence and attract diners back, once trust is lost.

“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 you’ve been implicated in a food hygiene incident,” says Dee Roche, Marketing Director of Checkit.net. “This demonstrates the enormous impact that poor food safety has on a business’ survival – how would you cope with 61% of your customers boycotting your premises? These findings are a wake-up call to any operator that thinks 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 for subsequent visits.”

The research found that consumers had the highest expectations of fine dining restaurants, with 69% saying they would not visit any that had a low food hygiene rating. This was followed by takeaways (including Chinese, Indian or kebab sellers), with 64% of people avoiding any with low food hygiene ratings. In contrast, they were slightly better disposed to cafés and coffee shops (55%).

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, takeaways and food shops. The scale runs from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) through 1 (major improvement necessary) to 2 (improvement necessary) up to 5 (very good). Ratings are available from the Food Standards Agency’s websites and are normally displayed within the premises as well.

Checkit is a leading provider of next generation, cloud-based automated monitoring and digital work management solutions across the food, hygiene, healthcare and facilities management sectors.


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