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Poor service tops diners' complaints

16 December 2005
Poor service tops diners' complaints

Rude service is the biggest bugbear for restaurant diners in the capital, according to a new survey.

Grumbles over poor service in restaurants have increased by 54% year-on-year and now eclipse the second-largest area of upset, which is food and drink, reports the 2006 Square Meal Complaints Survey.

The restaurant guide's annual look at the industry, based on the opinions of about 8,000 London restaurant-goers, found that basic common courtesies such as smiling at diners, listening to their requests and allowing them to relax over their meal were too often missing from their dining experience.

Also on the capital's list of grievances was disappointing or overpriced food, table turning and lacklustre settings.

Not all of London's restaurants came under the cosh in this year's guide, however.

Mayfair restaurant Maze, the latest opening from Gordon Ramsay Holdings, was praised for its "outstanding service" and "ground-breaking food" and awarded the BMW Square Meal Award for Restaurant of the Year.

Top 10 specific complaints

2005 2004
Generally poor service 20% 13%
Overpriced food or drink 17% 18%
Poor food 17% 15%
Rude service 10% 12%
Slow service 9% 9%
Rushed service, table turning, cramped surrounds 6% 9%
Ambience too loud or too quiet 6% 6%
Disappointing decor 3% 6%
Limited menu and wine list 3%4%
Cold food 2% 4%

Source: Square Meal

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