Your industry news - first Number 1 for Recruitment
We strongly recommend viewing Cleanzine full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
UK public makes food hygiene number one priority when eating out
UK consumers are united in not tolerating poor food hygiene ratings and simply won't visit places that have had food safety issues, no matter what type of restaurant they are. Some 61% won't eat at a restaurant, takeaway, coffee shop or pub that has a low Food Standards Agency (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating while three quarters (75%) said they wouldn't risk dining at a restaurant that had been implicated in a food hygiene incident, even if recommended by someone that they trust.
These are the headline findings of UK consumer research carried out by Checkit.net, which also found that diners would rather put up with poor service from rude and unhelpful staff than eat at dirty restaurants. A total of 66% of respondents rated unclean or dirty premises as the first or second reason for not returning to a restaurant. Just 16% cited slow or poor service and 32% said rude or unhelpful staff would stop them coming back to a restaurant.
The impact of being implicated in a food hygiene incident is catastrophic for the survival of any restaurant business. Of the 75% of consumers that wouldn't risk a visit, 43% said they'd never dine there, no matter what, while 32% would only return if it had closed down and reopened under new ownership. A further 22% said they'd only return if the food hygiene rating improved dramatically - meaning that owners would need deep pockets and the ability to invest heavily over a long period of time to meet hygiene standards, rebuild trust and attract diners 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 a restaurant has been implicated in a food hygiene incident," says Dee Roche, Marketing Director, Checkit.net. "This demonstrates the enormous impact that poor food safety has on business survival - how could you cope with 61% of your customers boycotting your restaurant?
"These findings are a wake-up call to those restaurants that think 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 to a restaurant."
The research found that consumers had the highest expectations of fine dining restaurants, with 69% saying they would not visit any that had a low food hygiene rating. This was followed by takeaways (including Chinese, Indian or kebab sellers), with 64% of people avoiding any with low food hygiene ratings. In contrast they were slightly better disposed to cafes and coffee shops (55%), possibly due to the more limited range of food being sold.
"Food hygiene ratings matter to consumers, and are an increasingly important part of choosing where they eat," said David Davies, Managing Director, Checkit.net.
"Restaurants therefore need to ensure they are doing everything in their power to guarantee food safety - or the consequences for their business could be dire.
"While restaurants have been quick to invest in new, front of house technology, such as smart tablets to take orders, many still rely on paper checklists to manage food safety processes in the kitchen. It is time to move away from grubby bits of paper and invest in technology to better manage food safety."
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland helps consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, takeaways and food shops. The scale runs from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) through 1 (major improvement necessary) to 2 (improvement necessary) up to 5 (very good). Ratings are available from the Food Standards Agency's websites and are normally displayed within the premises as well.
The Checkit Study is based on research carried out online with 1,000 UK consumers by Toluna in H1 2016. A full management report on the research is available at:
Checkit provides next generation, cloud-based automated monitoring and digital work management solutions across the food, hygiene, healthcare and facilities management sectors. It enables every type of business, from a single restaurant or UK-wide chain, hospital or school, to transform the way they manage food, hygiene and facilities tasks.
Failure to provide comprehensive records of these activities can result in not meeting government regulations, low Food Hygiene Ratings or prosecution when food incidents occur. Checkit removes this risk by ensuring staff complete tasks the right way, without fail, enabling regulatory compliance by securely recording the data and providing a time-stamped audit trail.
Customers include the Ritz, Claridges, Abel & Cole, Ginsters, Quorn Foods, Integrated Pathology Partnerships, East Surrey Hospital, the Glasgow Academy, Wymondham College and Nanna Mexico.
28th April 2016