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Non-English waiters a major complaint with customers, says survey

25 October 2006

Dealing with waiters who cannot speak English is the most annoying problem when eating out at restaurants, according to a survey of 5,000 diners.

The research by Square Meal revealed that meals are marred by everything from unpleasant reservations staff to food taking an age to arrive or service being rushed by staff trying to fit in another sitting.

But the most common complaint was about waiters' poor grasp of the language.

One respondent to the survey asked: "How can restaurants employ someone who doesn't understand a simple request of ‘I'd like some more bread?'"

Gaby Huddart, editor of Square Meal, said: "I think now it's fair to say that London's restaurants are as good as anywhere else in the world but the service just isn't up to scratch.

"I don't think anyone cares who they are served by or where they are from as long as they can understand what they want.

"The one thing that might help is if when people aren't happy with the service they refrain from paying the tip, which is all too often added onto the bill automatically. It is optional and people shouldn't be afraid to not pay it."

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By Daniel Thomas

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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