Market Force

Service is twice as important than price when customers are making recommendations

Press release   •   Mar 05, 2012 11:40 GMT

Monday 5 March, Milton Keynes: Research issued today by Market Force Europe - formally Retail Eyes - shows that customers in the UK are twice as likely to recommend a restaurant because of the service given than the price of food or drinks. That expectation cuts both ways, however.

The survey of more than 5,000 UK consumers also revealed that a huge 77% of people have left a restaurant earlier than they had planned due to receiving poor service. The leading cause of poor service? Not food quality, but slow service and lack of attention—both addressable by focusing on training, employee satisfaction and staffing.

When asked what industry they felt delivered the best service, restaurants were rated second out of 10 industries, with 28.28% of the votes; hotels came first with 31.48%.

“It’s great news for the restaurant industry coming second in the industry customer satisfaction poll,” noted Tim Ogle, CEO Market Force Europe, “but the large proportion of people saying they’ve left a  restaurant due to a poor service should be a wake-up call to the industry.”

Good customer service doesn’t have to be expensive. Small, inexpensive changes can have a big impact on whether someone purchases in your restaurant and how much they spend. Ogle points out, “Our research found that more than eight in 10 people feel that staff appearance affects the overall impression of the service received. It’s these little gems of insight that will have an impact on transactions and repeat visits.”

The key findings from the research are:

  • When asked to rate what is most important in a restaurant, 35% of people said service, compared to just 18% citing price
  • Four out of 10 (45%) people also said the biggest frustration was slow service
  • Three out of 10 (31%) people say that staff showing a lack of interest makes them feel dissatisfied with their experience

There are several operators in the industry who have built their business around the importance customer experience, supporting innovative programmes to ensure they are capturing as much feedback as possible from their customers and taking steps to make improvements no matter how small they are. These brands, as a rule, are out-distancing their peers in growth.

“The results of this survey have clearly shown that while restaurants may look to attract customers in with tempting promotions, the service they deliver will have a more lasting impact to brands and businesses within the industry”, noted Ogle. “As restaurants jockey for more of our precious consumer spend, it’s a lesson these better operators are proving the rule.”


For more information please contact the Market Force PR team on or 01865 882988

Notes to editors

Industry customer service satisfaction results:

  1. Hotels (31.48%)
  2. Pubs / Restaurants (28.28%)
  3. Banks (10.78%)
  4. Department stores (9.72%)
  5. Local convenience stores (6.48%)
  6. Supermarkets (6.10%)
  7. Clothing retailers (2.69%)
  8. Electrical retailers (2.24%)
  9. Mobile phone/ telecom companies (1.53%)
  10. Petrol stations (0.69%)

Main statistics:

  1. 77% of customers leave a restaurant due to poor service
  2. Eight of 10 (84%) customers feel staff appearance affects the overall impression of the service received
  3. 78% would pay more in an establishment for a good service
  4. Customers rated the level of importance of service (35%) over price (18%).
  5. Four out of 10 (45%) said the biggest frustration was slow service.
  6. Three out of 10 (31%) said staff showing a lack of interest in their needs and wants would make them feel unsatisfied with their experience.

About Market Force acquiring Retail Eyes

In September 2011, Retail Eyes became a part of Market Force Information to create the world’s largest customer intelligence solutions provider.

Back in 2003, Retail Eyes set out to become the UK’s leading customer experience improvement agency. Just over eight years later, with the support of its ever growing team and client base, the company expanded its vision to grow in other countries around the world.

In February 2012, Retail Eyes entered an exciting new era as it became known as Market Force Information (Europe) Limited, with its head office on the outskirts of Milton Keynes becoming Market Force’s European Centre of Excellence. 

About Market Force Information

Market Force Information is the leading customer intelligence company, helping retail, restaurant, hospitality & leisure businesses to increase repeat visits and sales by understanding what their customers want and improving customers’ experience. The company’s European headquarters are inMilton Keynes.

Market Force uses customer intelligence to help clients increase average transaction values; sell new and more products to existing customers; secure new customers through word of mouth recommendations; build brand advocacy; and ensure customers visit more often.

Market Force’s customer intelligence includes: customer satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping, retail audits, in-store point of sale (PoS) compliance; and analytics to drive targeted improvements.

Market Force works with more than 350 of the world’s leading consumer-facing companies, such as BAA, Compass Group, Domino’s Pizza, Dreams, HMV, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), JD Sports, JD Wetherspoon, Ladbrokes, Nandos, Pret a Manger, QHotels, Sony, Subway , Waterstones, William Hill and Zara.

For more information about Market Force please visit