Mystery Dining & Guest Feedback

Janets Blog 9th April 2015

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Summary results from our Silent Customer 2015 survey

351 people completed our 2015 on-line survey. Over half were between the age of 36 and 55 years of age.  25% read the Mail, 20% the Times, 20% Guardian, 11% independent, 12% Metro and 12% other .

If you would like to see the full survey results with customer comments please contact us  


Our recent survey suggests that customers are dining out in all establishment types more frequently in 2015 than four years ago. Customers visiting coffee shops at ‘least once a week’ has increased by 14% and pubs by 8%.

Interestingly in 2011 43% of diners said they would ‘never’ eat in a fast food outlets such as well-known burger chains although in 2015 only 13% said they would boycott this type of eatery, bucking any assumption of healthy eating over convenience.


As in 2011, customers still feel that the best service is provided by independent restaurants serving international cuisine followed by high street chains and, lastly, food led pubs.

Only 58% of customers say they ‘usually’ feel genuinely valued by the venues they visit, a small increase of 7% from 2011.

Both surveys deliver the same results in 'food not meetings expectations' being the biggest frustration in terms of common service issues.

There is marginal increase of 4%, in 2015, where just over half of customers will tell the waiter / manager at the time if they have an ‘extremely disappointing dining experience.’ However customers who ‘don’t say anything at the time and just don’t go back’ have nearly halved in the last 4 years from 22% to 12% in favour of giving feedback via comment cards or email.


The importance of locally sourced ingredients has dropped slightly from 18% of customers thinking it is ‘very important’ in 2011 to 12% feeling the same in 2015.

When asked about whether calories or nutritional values on menus would be useful, people who agreed rose from 43% in 2011 to 56% in 2015 suggesting that this will be seen more in the future.

In both surveys 22% of diners had dietary requirements and 5% had mobility needs. However in 2011 only 12% said their dietary requirements were ‘usually met’ in comparison to 18% in 2015. With the new regulations in place we can expect this this to be much higher in the next few years. 


Both surveys show a minimal interest from customers wanting to use offers seen in local papers with only a 14% uptake in both 2011 and 2015. However, there appears to be continuing popularity in offers on voucher sites with an uptake of redemption at 31% in 2011 up to 49% in 2015. Similarly, with loyalty companies; redemption was at 11% in 2011 with a rise to 37% in 2015. Uptake on offers that have been sent out by the restaurants themselves have risen from 40% up to 60%!

There is marginal increase, in 2015, where over 70% of customers think it’s very important that restaurants and pubs ask for feedback.

In 2011 nobody agreed that the hospitality industry was as good as other industries in using social media and websites. This has shot up to 22% in 2015, although nearly half still think that we have some way to go.

Trip Advisor shows some dramatic changes in customer behaviour with 41% of customer never looking at Trip Advisor in 2011 in comparison to just 14% in 2015 strongly suggesting that all restaurateurs should encourage customers submit reviews to balance customer opinion. See charts above.