The person you're having dinner with might be unhappy with you

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 10:00 am

Diners are less happy with restaurant food and service than they were two decades ago.

Researchers have found that while people are more likely to eat out with their families, their ratings for restaurant food, decor, service and value for money have fallen.

They are also less happy with the conversations and company of their dining companions, the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Newcastle was told.

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We see that people are generally less satisfied with the last meal they ate in a restaurant, with lower rates of satisfaction for the food, decor, service and value for money.

Professor Alan Warde, University of Manchester

Three researchers compared ratings given in 1995 and 2015 by more than 2,000 diners in London, Bristol and Preston after their last meal at a restaurant or cafe.

Professor Alan Warde from the University of Manchester told the conference the proportion of those satisfied with their meal's value for money fell from 69 percent to 56 percent.

He said: “The results show some important changes over 20 years in how happy people are with dining out.

”We see that people are generally less satisfied with the last meal they ate in a restaurant, with lower rates of satisfaction for the food, decor, service and value for money.“

Professor Warde, who worked with Dr Jennifer Whillans from the University of Manchester and Dr Jessica Paddock from the University of Bristol, found that the rate of those satisfied with food dropped from 81 percent to 72 percent.

Satisfaction with service fell 12 percent and satisfaction with decor fell 16 percent.

The number of people dining out with their family rose by 21 percent, while those dining with just their partner fell 30 percent and those dinging with friends fell by nine percent.

Dining companions

But those who said they were happy with their dining companions fell by 5 percent to 86 percent. Those eating out alone doubled from three percent to six percent.

The researchers found that the most frequent styles of food eaten at the last meal out were traditional British (41 percent); Italian (13 percent); and Indian (nine percent), with other types comprising the rest.

The researchers also found that people were 23 percent more likely to eat just one course, 11 percent less likely to eat at weekends, and 33 percent less likely to dress up for the occasion.

Professor Warde said: ”While people are more likely to eat out with their family, and less with just their partners or just friends, the survey found that people's satisfaction with their dining companions also fell during the 20 years.“

This article originally appeared in our sister title, iNews