Nation’s most annoying niggles

– the behaviours which wind Brits up the most when eating out

>> New research, from online restaurant booking service Bookatable, reveals that Brits are far from being on their best behaviour when visiting restaurants, leaving friends, loved ones and other diners with a less than enjoyable dining experience.

The findings show Brits are most offended by people snapping their fingers to get a waiter’s attention (46%) while not surprisingly chewing with your mouth

open came a close second (45.6%).  Despite the popularity in the trend to

take photos of food for social media, people using mobile phones offends

40% of Brits, with 12% even taking the extra step to complain about fellow

diners to the restaurant.

Other notable annoyances include romantic couples’ public displays of affection, known as PDA (22%), while using a toothpick with people watching was also seen as a dining etiquette faux-pas (16%). It’s not just other diners disturbing our dinner enjoyment, as restaurants themselves can also ruin a meal with friends. Rude service is the top way for restaurants to offend Brits (6%), a factor that rates higher amongst women (70%) than men (59%).

Leading British etiquette expert William Hanson has worked with Bookatable to create a Modern Dining Etiquette Guide aimed at helping restaurant goers have more pleasurable and memorable dining experiences. He says: “Traditional table manners can still be relevant even in the age of mobile phones and social media so a little thought for the neighbouring table can go a long way to ensuring everybody enjoys a nice meal.”

Neighbouring tables were also cited as the cause for dinner guests to feel irritated.

No matter how cute they are, for 51% of Brits, crying or misbehaving children would leave them sighing under their breath.

49% of Brits also want to turn the volume down on overly loud guests.



>> Small and medium-sized hospitality venues are failing to grasp how much a reliable Wi-Fi network matters to guests, according to a new study by Netgear.

Around 43% of hospitality business owners believe customers think poor or non-existent wireless access is a price worth paying for the experience on offer. However, the study shows that consumers disagree with these assumptions.

A third of leisure travellers say they would not return to a hotel that offered inadequate wireless access, and this number rises to two-thirds of business guests. For boutique hotels, this could result in a potentially damaging drop in occupancy rates, further compounded by guests abandoning on-site restaurants and cafés for places where they can connect.

The study also shows that the boundaries between work and leisure time are blurring. People on a leisure break are now just as concerned about losing online contact with work (22% of young professionals aged under 24) as they are

about missing updates from friends and social networks (29% of the same age group).

Jonathan Hallatt, regional director for Netgear, says: “Smaller hospitality and leisure venues must accept that for many people wi-fi is now a basic need. Failure to provide a reliable wireless network means customers will spend less money while they are with you, shorten their visit and never return. The financial impact of this cannot be ignored. Strong and consistent wi-fi should

be seen as a revenue generator, not a cost.”

Food Pleasure Seekers– a new breed of consumer

>> In the recent Allegra Restaurant Report, the headline was ‘A New Era of Premiumised Informality driven by Food Pleasure Seekers’, and it was the first time thatwe have recognised that it is consumers’ interest infood that is helping to drive growth in the market.

Allegra’s research segments consumers into eating typologies, considering attitudes to shopping, cooking and eating out, and this year we have witnessed an increase in ‘Aspirational Gourmets’ and a decrease in ‘Disinterested Refuellers’. As consumers become more travelled and more open to new

ideas, this is reflected in what they look for in a food experience. An example

of this is seen with the growth of Street Food, which has been driven by entrepreneurs wanting to translate their passion for food into a business.

So how do you meet the needs of ‘Food Pleasure Seekers’? Menus should provide some dishes that are different, challenging, unusual or drawing from global cuisine trends such as Vietnamese, South American or Caribbean.

Staple dishes such as a steak can be offered with sauces or accompaniments such as a chimichurri sauce or a Vietnamese slaw. Even burgers can be upgraded to include interesting elements such as one of the latest special burgers from Byron, ‘The Miami Slice’, which includes tiny crunchy shoestring fries within the bun, a spicy paprika ketchup and chorizo, served with a pot of pork scratchings and a tub of spicy sauce.

Traditional favourites will always come to the fore, but don’t forget that there are growing numbers of consumers who are looking for something different

and they provide the chance to charge more for that experience.