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Promotional vouchers keep customers coming back for more

A recent study into service levels across 13 major high street restaurant brands has revealed that in spite of the current climate two in three (70%) of customers have not cut back on their visits to restaurants thanks to the use of promotional vouchers.

The study also revealed that:

  • Three quarters (76%) of customers have used a promotional voucher when visiting a restaurant in the past 12 months
  • 69% of diners used money-off vouchers to reduce restaurant spend rather than cut back on the number of times they went out to eat
  • More than a quarter (28%) of customers state that they tip less in the current climate.

The survey findings released by research services company, Grass Roots, suggest that promotional vouchers are proving successful for high street brands with 95% of those customers using a voucher returning, or planning to return, to the restaurant based on their experience.

Throughout the UK, 260 mystery shopping visits were carried out at 13 major restaurant brands including Wagamama, Harvester, Pizza Express and Loch Fyne. Restaurants were visited at varying times during the week with diners briefed to assess overall levels of service received when ordering a main course and a drink.

Key findings of the study regarding service levels are as follows:

Expected service

Customer expectations are high. Many service elements that would have been considered ‘excellent' in the past are now expected as a minimum standard


In half of the visits conducted, serving staff did not suggest or offer additional items to accompany the order

Waiting times

87% of diners who experienced a wait for food that was perceived as too long did not receive an apology or acknowledgement for the delay

Satisfaction check

15% of serving staff did not check that the diners were satisfied with their meal at all. 45% of customers who did not receive a check would not return to the restaurant based on the service.

Jamie Thorpe, group project director at Grass Roots commented: "When carrying out this research, we also collected information into the current dining habits of the respondents. It is interesting to see that customers of all ages are using promotional vouchers to lower their spend at restaurants while maintaining the number of times they eat out. This is very encouraging news for restaurants in today's climate. However, restaurant managers need to seize this opportunity to ensure that their serving staff communicate waiting times, additional items to accompany orders and satisfaction checks better to customers."

To download the full survey report, visit


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