Slow service is main cause of negative reviews, report says

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

12 October 2018

The next time you’re looking to boost your venue’s online ratings, look not to the quality of your wines or the complexity of your cocktails, just be nice to your customers and hurry up with the damn food.

Those are (more or less) the takeaways from a new report by social review tracker Feed It Back, which shows that rude service and long wait times are the leading causes of negative customer reviews for bars, pubs and restaurants.

The research gathered insights from leading platforms such as Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor, analysing reviews to find trends and commonalities. It also highlighted differences in complaints from restaurant customers versus customers in bars and pubs.

According to the report, 20% of negative feedback for restaurants was due to slow service, particularly in the time between starters and mains. Overall, restaurant goers tended to focus on lagging efficiency and poor staff attitudes in their negative reviews.

Meanwhile, 19% of criticisms for pubs and bars pointed to the quality of food as a source of discontent, with lacklustre roasts and other classics at the centre of the problem.

Pub and bar patrons also emphasised the venue itself in many of their reviews. The atmosphere, access to an outside area and cleanliness were at the heart of more than 20% of complaints.

‘It might seem obvious slow service is a key driver in negative reviews, but the interesting part is in the detail of the data when you find out it’s actually the wait time between the starter and main course that’s frustrating customers,’ said Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia.

‘The brands that will win the fight for market share over the next five years will be the ones that truly listen to customers and use all the data at their disposal to drive their experience.’

What's the most atrocious service experience you've had in a bar, pub or restaurant? Let us know: email or tweet at us @imbibeuk

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