Service vs. Sustenance: Polite Waiters Trump Good Cuisine When Americans Dine Out, Opinion Research Corporation 'Ouch Point' Study Finds

Jun 27, 2007, 01:00 ET from Opinion Research Corporation

    PRINCETON, N.J., June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Rude waiters have the most
 negative impact on the dining experience and hence a restaurant's
 reputation, according to one quarter of respondents who participated in
 Opinion Research Corporation's latest "Ouch Point" study.
     Following closely behind an impolite wait staff were hosts and maitre
 d's who underestimate the waiting time for a table (20 percent). Issues
 related to the food itself were considered much less bothersome, with only
 12 percent of respondents citing ill-prepared meals and 10 percent
 identifying cold food as their greatest dining out dissatisfaction.
     "Eating out is one of America's favorite pastimes and is increasingly a
 necessity for today's time-pressured consumers," said Jeffrey T. Resnick,
 President of Opinion Research USA. "The smart restaurateur will make
 certain that great service is part of the customer experience. It will win
 loyalty and build profits."
     The study also revealed a gap in tolerance thresholds between older and
 younger age groups. Those in the 18-24 year old bracket cite rude wait
 staff as their chief complaint (55 percent), compared with only 32 percent
 of respondents over the age of 65. Said Resnick, "Perhaps patience comes
 with age, but it's no excuse for poor service."
     Differences in household income also have an impact on tolerance
 thresholds. Respondents with an annual household income of over $75,000 are
 more likely to take issue with rude waiters than those in the
 $25K-and-under income bracket (29 percent versus 24 percent) or confront
 hosts who underestimate waiting times (24 percent versus 15 percent).
     The survey yielded the following list of top dining out Ouch Points:
     Rude waiters                                       25%
     Hosts/Maitre d's who underestimate
      waiting time for a table                          20%
     Slow service                                       15%
     Poorly prepared food                               12%
     Cold food                                          10%
     Being ushered out of the restaurant
      after paying the check                             3%
     Dirty menus                                         2%
     Fast service                                        1%
     Opinion Research Corporation's "Ouch Point" series is a monthly survey
 examining tolerance thresholds in a variety of common scenarios facing
 Americans in both their professional and personal lives every day.
     About Opinion Research Corporation
     Founded in 1938, Opinion Research Corporation, an infoUSA company,
 helps its clients grow their business by leveraging the insights of market
 research. The firm has been conducting national, speech reaction, state and
 flash/overnight polls for CNN since April 2006. To learn more, visit
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SOURCE Opinion Research Corporation