When eating out, good service is king, not price

Brits are sticklers for good service. When it comes to dining out, it is reputation and excellent customer service rather than price that will have customers beating a path to a restaurant’s door – even during a recession. This has been revealed in a survey of 9000 people carried out by customer service evaluation specialist Retail Eyes.

In the Retail Eyes survey a healthy 60% of the public is mostly likely to choose a venue that has a good reputation for quality and good customer service. Despite the current economic climate, only 32.2% of participants in the survey were influenced by price driven aspects, like discounts, promotions and value meals. Recession or not, customers have shown they will pay generously if there’s the promise of outstanding attention and a pleasant experience while they are eating out.

So great is the desire for good service, the poll also shows that customers are literally willing to go out of their way to find it. Only 3.5% of those polled choose to go to venues purely because they are close to home and convenient to get to. The majority are happy to travel further afield if it means that when they arrive, they know they will be well taken care of.

In January (2009) Retail Eyes’ groundbreaking pub service benchmarking study highlighted that it’s the little things in pub service culture that make the difference with the public all of which were quick and easy wins. Whether they’re out for a drink or pub-grub, customers like and expect friendly greetings and goodbyes, acknowledgement by staff or even being asked if they have all they need. All these ‘check-back’ practices by staff hold significant weight with the pub-goers, and now we see it’s no different in the restaurant sector.

Simon Boydell, Marketing Manager at Retail Eyes says “The figures of our poll clearly indicate that the great British public still believes in paying for good quality dining experiences. Great service and food is what attracts us to restaurants, not just cheap prices. There’s one group of people who is responsible for ensuring this and that’s the staff who work on the front lines – not those back at head office. In the end when we start to tighten our belts financially, people tend to only spend on what they are confident and they’ll think back to their last experience, or recommendations from friends and family when making these decisions – not just a one off bargain.”

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