So finds workplace hygiene brand Tork which has conducted some European research to determine the most important aspects of a great service experience in the eyes of consumers dining out in the UK, France, Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Russia.
The survey of over 3,000 consumers found that attentive service was important to 83% of women from Germany and 66% of UK women. But attentiveness falls markedly in the importance ranking for women from Finland at 59%.
Having the freedom to make changes to dishes to suit individual preferences and having knowledge of a menu were cited as the second most-important aspect when considering whether to leave a tip with 61% of German consumers regarding this as a significant factor when choosing to leave a tip, with Knowledge of the menu also factoring highly at 53%. The UK figure for this is 47%.
Russian respondents had the highest expectations when it came to knowledge of a menu, with 54% citing it as very important in their decision to leave a tip, however the ability to change dishes to suit their individual preferences was only of interest to 34% of respondents – the lowest across all the countries surveyed.
Small talk would appear to have an influence too with 31% of respondents from the Netherlands stating that they’d leave a tip “if the waiter makes time to small talk with me”.
The UK figure was 30% but the ability to small talk in the tipping stakes was of least interest to Russian respondents at 16%.
There’s something to be said for showing you’re happy in your work too with over 50% of respondents from the Netherlands, Germany and France citing “staff seem to be enjoying themselves when working” as very important in their decision to leave a tip.
Interestingly, only 37% of UK respondents viewed a contented Front of House team as a reason to leave a tip with the figure falling to 34% for Russian respondents.
“As the tipping debate continues at pace, when it comes to service, it’s clear that old-fashioned values are still key to a great experience, with attentive and knowledgeable Front of House teams still playing a key role in the delivery of a memorable customer experience,” commented Jamie Wright, UK&I Communications Manager for SCA Hygiene, “Also, interestingly, the survey gives a gentle warning to UK operators not prepared to adapt menus to suit individual customer preferences. Adapting menus to individual tastes is standard practice in the US and the survey clearly highlights that this will become the norm amongst UK diners in the future.”