Rude waiters trump bad food

2007-07-03 09:46
New York - Rude waiters are more likely to scare away restaurant diners than bad food, according to a US survey on people's biggest complaints about eating out.

The survey by research group Opinion Research Corp found 25% of respondents cited bad service as having the most negative impact on both their dining experience and on a restaurant's reputation.

Following rude waiting staffs were hosts and maitre d's who underestimated the waiting time for a table, with 20% of respondents listing this as their biggest complaint with a restaurant, while 15% cited slow service.

Issues related to the food, however, were considered much less bothersome, with only 12% of respondents listing ill-prepared meals and 10% identifying cold food as their greatest dining out dissatisfaction.

"The smart restaurateur will make certain that great service is part of the customer experience. It will win loyalty and build profits," President of Opinion Research USA President Jeffrey Resnick said in a statement.

'Perhaps patience comes with age'

The study of 1 025 people conducted on May 11 found a gap in tolerance thresholds between older and younger age groups and between higher- and lower-income earners.

About 55% of people aged between 18 and 24 cited rude waiters as their chief complaint compared with only 32% of respondents aged over 65.

"Perhaps patience comes with age, but it's no excuse for poor service," said Resnick.

The survey found that 29% of respondents with an annual household income of over $75 000 took issue with rude waiters while only 24% of those earning $25 000 or less cited this as a major problem.

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