According to a survey by insurance company NFU Mutual, 44% of customers would not return to their favourite eatery if it displayed a rating of lower than four stars.
Under the food hygiene rating scheme in Wales, businesses have been required to display their rating since 2013, during which the number of five-star scores has increased by one third. It looks like prominently displaying ‘Scores on the Doors’ will also become mandatory sooner rather than later in England.
The report also found 95% of people are influenced by food hygiene ratings and food hygiene is so significant that it even beats customer loyalty – a huge 38% of people said they would stop visiting altogether if a favourite food outlet had scored a 3 out of 5 ‘generally satisfactory’ or less.
For the same score (three or less) 45% would not consider visiting a food outlet they hadn’t tried before, and 44% would turn away and try somewhere else.
Commenting on the report, Darren Seward, Hospitality Sector Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Our report shows that when it comes to food safety customers have naturally high standards and that a ‘good’ score can no longer be seen as an aspiration but a minimum benchmark.”
“In advance of legislation changes all business owners should prioritise their food hygiene plans and processes, acting now to ensure that they have considered all hygiene and paperwork aspects rated by their local authority including cleanliness, structure and confidence in management, to ensure a continued rating of 4 or 5 for the day an inspector calls. ”
The NFU Mutual report also found that a law for compulsory display of rating stickers in England and Scotland has gained the support of consumers, with 88% in favour and 66% strongly so.