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Bad service remains biggest pet hate among diners

21 March 2011 by
Bad service remains biggest pet hate among diners

Rude or hapless service continues to be the major bugbear of the restaurant industry, with diners justifying walking out of restaurants without payment by being dissatisfied with front-of-house staff.

According to a survey by discounting website VoucherCodes.com, which questioned 3,000 diners, inattentive and rude staff tops the list of restaurant pet hates.

The survey also found that one in seven UK diners has walked out of a restaurant without payment at some point, with more than a third (39%) blaming waiting staff not returning to take payment. A quarter said they dined and dashed because they were unhappy with the food, while 2% refused to pay because of rude staff.

Meanwhile, diners were also left fuming about service charges being automatically added to the bill or being made to pay for tap water.

Adam Wills, director of Peter Gordon's Kopapa restaurant in London, said diners leaving without payment was a major frustration to operators. "We build a relationship with our customers as soon as they sit down and aim to provide them with the best service, food and overall experience as standard," he said.

"When some diners don't meet their obligation to pay for this, we see it as a breach of trust that has a knock-on effect both on our business and staff morale."

The UK's top five restaurant pet hates: 1. Inattentive/rude waiting staff
2. Service charge being automatically added to bill
3. Being made to pay for tap water
4. Waiting staff taking plates away before everyone at the table is finished
5. Being asked for the table back so another sitting can take place

The UK's top five reasons to dine and dash: 1. Waiting staff never came to take payment
2. Dissatisfaction with dining experience
3. Saw an opportunity to leave and took it
4. Didn't have enough money
5. The staff were rude

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By Kerstin Kühn

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