Hygiene most important ingredient on menu for restaurant customers
Diners will accept poor service and rude staff but not substandard food conditions
DINERS will put up with poor service and rude staff, but draw the line at eating in filthy food establishments, according to a recent survey.
Of the 1,000 people who took part in the online survey by Checkit. net, a total of 61% of diners said they refuse to visit restaurants with poor hygiene standards, while 75% said they wouldn’t risk eating at a place that had been involved in food hygiene incident even if it was recommended by someone they trust.
In west London, Ealing, Westminster and Harrow food businesses are at most risk of such a consumer boycott after recording some of the highest levels of poor food hygiene ratings.
A total of 528 (or 15%) restaurants, takeaways, sandwich shops, cafés, canteens, mobile caterers, hotels, pubs and bars in Westminster scored two or less out of five in the Food Hygiene Rating set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Harrow recorded the highest percentage with 22% (135) of eateries faced with losing more than half their customers due to low food hygiene ratings, followed by Ealing at 20% (238 eating places), research and analysis from Checkit uncovered.
Last month, Hot & Spicy takeaway in Hayes was served with a hefty fine after rat droppings were found in the kitchen.
At the other end of the scale, Kensington and Chelsea had the lowest level of badly rated premises, with only 5% or 63 places receiving a rating of level two or below.
Following closely behind was neighbouring borough Hammersmith and Fulham where 93 restaurants or 8% of food businesses scored badly.
A total of 1,475 food places across west London poorly.
Earlier this year a rat infestation also led to the closure of fast food chain Burger King in Paddington.
The Checkit survey also showed 66% of respondents rated dirty
rated premises as the first or second reason for not returning to a restaurant, but just 16% cited bad service and 32% said rude staff would stop them from coming back again.
The worst borough in London for food hygiene was Newham with 31% of restaurants and cafés recording poor ratings.
Across London, the biggest culprits of lack of cleanliness were takeaways and sandwich shops, worrying for a large number of busy Londoners are likely to go to grab lunch.
Dee Roche, marketing director of Checkit.net said: “Food hygiene is now the number one priority for consumers when eating out, meaning our research should act as a wake-up call for those restaurants in London with poor food hygiene ratings.
“As well as the health of their customers they are risking the survival of their business – few of them could cope with 61% of diners boycotting their restaurant.
“Customers rate hygiene as the number one reason, above service or rude staff when it comes to choosing whether to return to a restaurant.”
n FINED: Hot & Spicy in Hayes was found with rat droppings in the kitchen and right, a scene that greeted inspectors