Restaurants risk millennial mealtime-meltdown

Worldpay study reveals poor table service is leaving Gen Y stressed out

LONDON, 2nd May: A nationwide study released by Worldpay* has uncovered that millennials have been left fretting in the face of failed food service. The research, which has important implications for restaurateurs looking to retain the customers of tomorrow found:

  • Only six percent of consumers find restaurant service quick and efficient
  • Millennials are twice as likely to find eating out stressful than older diners
  • Three quarters of consumers won’t wait more than five minutes to pay, with one-in-five annoyed after three minutes
  • A fifth of all consumers are regularly frustrated by waiting for food to arrive, rising to one in four for Gen Z and Y (16-34)

Worldpay’s research underscores the value of slick service in the competitive hospitality sector, from the moment the diner walks in to when they settle the bill.

Chris Crang Vice President Marketing UK and Europe, Worldpay Inc. said: “Whilst it may seem obvious that no one likes to be kept waiting, our research will certainly give restaurants food for thought on how they respond and adapt to evolving consumer expectations. Payment stress can taint the entire dining experience, and with so few diners considering service to be efficient, there is a huge opportunity for savvy operators to differentiate their offering and win over loyal consumers through a more seamless customer centric service.”

To illustrate the stress that an inefficient dining experience can cause, Worldpay set up The Stresstaurant, a pop-up restaurant designed to challenge customers with dire table service, ranging from wrong orders to late bills. With so much going wrong during the filmed lunch – from phantom Champagne orders to missing tips and card machines taking an age to arrive - the Stresstaurant truly challenged the British ability to keep calm and carry on.

Faring worst on the stressometers were the millennial snowflakes brought to meltdown by slow card machines and miscalculated bills. Older generations by contrast kept their cool, despite the cocktail of errors sent their way.

Diner Barry Jones, 21 from Mill Hill said: “As a stressful experience that was a seven out of ten. Waiting for a bill when we need to be somewhere else does get me stressed and can put a real downer on the rest of the day. Once I’ve finished a meal I just want to get going – bad service at that point makes me want to walk away and never come back.” Nick Lander, restaurant critic and former owner of L’Escargot, one of London’s top restaurants said: “One of the biggest changes facing the restaurant industry today is the style of service, as time-pressures have increasingly become a factor in where consumers choose to eat. I was shocked to learn that just six percent of consumers find service is generally quick and efficient when they eat out. Restaurants shouldn’t underestimate the impact the small details have on the smooth running of a busy service – both for the customer and themselves. There’s no excuse for bad cooking but it’s the way that you’re looked after that makes the difference between a good meal, a great meal and an unforgettable meal."

Chris Crang from Worldpay continued: “Increasingly, consumers have come to expect the same frictionless service they receive online in the real world, with technology shifting the perception of what the modern dining experience should be. Our experiment demonstrates the importance of creating and maintaining that seamless journey from beginning to end. The payment process may be the last part of the experience but get it wrong and it can leave a bad aftertaste.”

*All the stats provided are taken from our latest consumer report, The Worldpay Customer Experience Report 2018.

About The Stresstaurant

We filmed and analysed the following scenarios mostly involving groups of four diners:

  • Leaving a card behind the bar and forgetting to settle the bill when a party leaves.
  • Entering the wrong amount into the card machine (double keying) and having to issue a refund.
  • Waiter going back and forth from the ePOS system, to sort a bill.
  • A group struggling to calculate the amount they have to tip – and causes havoc with their attempt to pay in cash.