New research shines a light on Britons’ biggest hospitality bug bears

Speed of service and hot food being served cold, are the biggest points of friction for pub, bar and restaurant customers, research from Zonal’s latest GO Technology report in partnership with CGA by NIQ, shows.
Download the report here

The survey of more than 5,000 British adults, highlights customers’ biggest annoyances when going out for food and drink and what can be done to fix them. When asked what the top five bugbears are, the following reasons came out on top:


  1. A long wait for food and drink (91%)
  2. Hot food served cold (91%)
  3. Broken promises on a special deal/loyalty discount (88%)
  4. Food served at different times (87%)
  5. Waiting for their table to become available (86%)


Other frustrations mentioned as part of the research include items being out of stock (82%), menus being difficult to use (82%) and staff not having enough knowledge (80%). Respondents also find having to wait to receive and settle the bill (77%) or not being able to split the bill (64%) frustrating.


The survey also highlights customer’s top pre-visit frustrations. More than four in five find poor information, such as out-of-date or missing menus online frustrating. Booking platforms are also a point of annoyance, with over three-quarters saying not being able to cancel or amend a booking is their biggest bugbear (77%). Alarmingly, three in five (61%) of those who found it difficult to amend a booking online, said it would cause them to find somewhere else to go or think twice about visiting the venue in the future.


This highlights how important the pre-visit element of the overall hospitality experience is. By addressing potential pre-visit bug bears early on, operators can retain customers and avoid losing valuable business.


Commenting on the findings, Tim Chapman, Chief Commercial Officer, Zonal, said: “Consumers are becoming more expectant of the venues they visit and demand an even higher level of service, so it’s vital that operators deliver on this. Venues that don’t tackle these issues head on, run the risk of losing customers and ultimately, damaging their bottom line.


“Technology can act as a helping hand in supporting operators meet the demands of consumers. Online booking systems and digital kitchen management tools, can help to automate services that would otherwise be time consuming or laborious for staff, allowing them to focus on the most important thing – delivering an excellent customer experience.”


Karl Chessell, Director – Hospitality Operators and Food, EMEA, CGA by NIQ added:

The large majority of consumers’ visits to restaurants, pubs and bars are happy and hassle-free. But things inevitably go wrong sometimes, and this GO Technology research shows the damage that poor experiences can do to venues’ sales and reputation. From researching a visit to paying the bill, understanding where and how frustrations emerge along the guest journey is the first step towards fixing them, and by getting on the front foot operators will effectively remedy annoyances. No operator is able to get everything right all of the time, but the best ones turn problems into solutions and negatives into positives.”


‘Fixing peoples hospitality bugbears’ report from CGA and Zonal provides many more insights into consumers top frustrations and annoyances in hospitality and how to fix them. Click here to download the full report for free.


GO Technology is based on an exclusive survey of 5,000 nationally representative British consumers. To discuss the research and ways CGA by NIQ helps businesses drive loyalty, email client director Andy Dean at    

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