UK consumers are united in not tolerating poor food hygiene ratings and simply will not visit businesses that have had food safety issues.
According to recent research from Checkit.net, an independent business within Elektron Technology Group, three quarters (75%) of those surveyed 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.
The UK consumer research also found that diners would rather put up with poor service from rude and unhelpful staff than eat at dirty restaurants. It also found 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.
"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," said Dee Roche, marketing director for Checkit.net.
"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."
David Davies, managing director for Checkit.net, added: "Businesses therefore need to ensure they are doing everything in their power to comply with regulatory guidelines - or the consequences could be dire."
The Checkit Study is based on research carried out online with 1,000 UK consumers by Toluna in H1 2016.