Findings from a nationwide study have revealed that most Kiwi diners (70%) prefer casual dining over a formal setting, and that excellent food is what will keep them going back to a restaurant time and time again.
The “What Matters?” survey, which was run by Salt & Pepper PR, a consultancy that specialises in food and drink public relations, also found that New Zealanders are most likely to avoid a restaurant due to poor food quality (89%), dirty bathrooms (61%), and rude staff (61%). Kiwis are relatively forgiving of slow service, however, with only 20% citing this as a reason not to return.
When questioned about what encouraged them to try a restaurant in the first place, a huge majority said that they relied on word of mouth and online reviews (95%).
Unsurprisingly, smartphones have become an integral part of the modern dining experience. Eighty-percent of Kiwis use their phone to find a restaurant to go to, 55% take photos of their dishes to share online, and 45% check-in to restaurants on social media.
Kiwis also like following their favourite chefs and restaurants, with only 25% saying they don’t do this. They most enjoy seeing food photos, followed by special deals, information (opening hours etc.), and recipe ideas/cooking tips.
“The survey results definitely confirm a few developments we have noticed, such as the casual dining trend. Increasing numbers of food trucks, and restaurants offering sharing plates are appearing to accommodate the demand. The rise in restaurants with a no-booking rule is a reflection of that as well,”explains Jennifer Boyes, Managing Director of Salt & Pepper PR.
“The amount of Kiwis following restaurants and chefs via social media is also very interesting. Hopefully, those figures will encourage them to invest more time in their online presence. Those actively engaging with their customers on social media have a definite advantage over their competitors. It’s an area that many Kiwi restaurants and cafes could improve on.”