Cost of Living Crisis Ignites Demand for Better Customer Service

A women waiting for her food to be served in a restaurant

In light of National Customer Service Week (2-6 October), a new study has revealed that one in five Brits wastes up to 12 hours a year waiting to be served when eating out.

Nearly a third admit that the cost-of-living crisis has made them less tolerant of poor customer service.

Researchers found that 34% of Brits admit that long wait times are the thing that annoys them the most about customer service when dining out, while 33% selected slow service. Nearly a third (30%) state rude or unhelpful staff as their biggest gripe, followed by waiters getting their order wrong (24%) and people receiving food at different times (20%).

The study of 2,000 adults, commissioned by three rocks, revealed the top ways Brits are wasting time when it comes to dining out, with 29% waiting to be served and 23% waiting for food or drink, or waiting to pay the bill.

The research also found that 62% of Brits would consider trying a fully automated ‘robotic restaurant’, while 56% would choose an AI or automated self-service system such as self-ordering kiosks or AI sommeliers over a human if it meant a faster, more accurate service when eating or drinking out. This figure rose to 76% among 18-24-year-olds.

This trend continues within the older generations, with nearly a third (31%) of 65+-year-olds claiming they’d be happy to use technology for paying their bill instead of interacting with staff.

11% of Brits even admit they would be happy to visit a fine dining restaurant with fully automated service and food served using a robot or other technology.

Scott Muncaster,, Managing Director of three rocksScott Muncaster, Managing Director of customer service specialist, three rocks, said: “Our research found that there is a real appetite for automation and AI when eating and drinking out, as long as it provides a better service.

“What was surprising was the settings in which Brits were open to using technology rather than interacting with people, such as in fine dining restaurants. This wider acceptance may be a result of the pandemic with many more people now being used to contactless systems. We uncovered how many of the slightly older generations are keen to use automated systems when eating or drinking out. It’s often assumed that baby boomers and Gen X customers want to interact with a person, however our data shows that this isn’t always the case.

“We also found an acceptance of automated or AI systems extends to other areas, from technical support for a device such as a phone or laptop to diagnosing an issue with a car or other vehicle – 14% were happy to use AI for diagnosing a medical issue with a GP.”

The full downloadable research whitepaper report can be found here: three rocks® Research Whitepaper.pdf 

About the research

Research conducted by 3 Gem Research & Insights, 2,000 Nationally representative survey, August 2023.

About three rocks

three rocks® is a people-first tech company specialising in creating solutions that enhance experiences. The company has over 30 years of collective experience in designing bespoke technology solutions driven by data collection and analysis, helping to transform businesses by enhancing consumer, employee, and user experience.

The brand’s experience management solution (XMS) is truly modular, allowing clients to utilise flexible solutions that are right for their business needs. The individual solutions include booking, ordering, inventory, CRM, strategy, kitchen management and business management. XMS is flexible and can be tailored to suit any industry.

three rocks work with some of the UK’s largest restaurant brands such as Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and The Big Table Group. Beyond hospitality, the brand works with B2B clients across a multitude of sectors including; wholesale, publishing and Internet of Things solutions.

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