Diners say restaurant service is lacking
November 17, 1999
From Correspondent Deborah Feyerick
New York (CNN) -- A new survey of nearly 40,000 diners shows significant customer dissatisfaction, and the restaurant consulting group which sponsored the study has warned restaurant owners and employees that they'd better shape up.
"If service does not pick up in America, particularly warm and friendly service, you're going to see a lot of restaurants going out of business in the next 12 to 24 months," said Tom Feltenstein, the survey author.
Florida-based Feltenstein Partners reported that of almost 40,000 diners eating at mid-priced casual restaurants, seven percent said they would not go back because of bad service.
The rate was slightly higher at more expensive restaurants, with 12 percent, or roughly one in ten customers, saying they would not return because of poor quality service.
"People don't have to tolerate bad service. And if they're unhappy with the service at one restaurant they go to another one," said restaurant expert Nina Zagat.
As for restaurant employees themselves, nearly half questioned said they would not recommend their own restaurant as a place to eat ... much less a place to work.
"What kind of service are they going to give to the guests, if they're not proud of their workplace? That blew me away," Feltenstein said.
Restaurant co-owner John Lapstatis confirmed that good customer service is the key to keeping old customers and attracting new ones to his Chelsea Square Restaurant in New York.
"Everybody expects good service, no matter if he spends one dollar or $100," he said.
Small portions and high prices are also a turn-off, the study finds. And those most likely to complain were diners aged 24 to 50, who are quick take their business someplace else, someplace where they won't be left with a bad taste in their mouths.
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