Consumers still eating out — and willing to voice dissatisfaction

EATING out has survived the recession in Ireland, while diners have also discovered a far greater willingness to express their dissatisfaction, according to a survey by Bord Bia.

Almost half (46%) of the population is still eating out at least once a month, with 15% of Irish people eating out at least once a week. The research was presented at the launch of the Just Ask 2011 campaign which encourages consumers to look for information when eating out regarding the origin of their meat.

The Just Ask campaign was launched by Bord Bia in 2009 and has been positively received by the restaurant trade. The research highlighted 81% of Irish diners believe it is important that restaurants use local produce, with 72% deeming it important that the origin of meat is listed on the menu. It also uncovered that nearly 80% of consumers would check the origin of meat on the menu in restaurants.

In addition, it would seem that Irish consumers do not have reservations with regard to speaking up if dissatisfied when eating out, with 73% willing to complain about the quality of food and over 80% of consumers willing to query a cost item on a bill.

Speaking about the launch of Just Ask 2011 campaign, Bord Bia’s Maureen Gahan said: “The Bord Bia research shows Irish people are dining out regularly. We want to remind diners about the Just Ask campaign and encourage them to check menus in restaurants and look for the food origin information on menus.!”

The campaign also includes the Just Ask Restaurant of the Month, selected by Georgina Campbell, which rewards restaurants around the country demonstrating best practice in providing their customers with information.

“Bord Bia is encouraging restaurants to get involved with the Just Ask campaign. The Just Ask Restaurant of the Month award recognises restaurants for their commitment to local producers and suppliers. For more information on the Just Ask campaign and for details of previous award winners log on to www.bordbia.ie.”

Harrys Bar & Restaurant in Inishowen, Co Donegal, is the 2011 Just Ask annual award winner. Speaking about the award, Donal Doherty said, “For us, winning the Just Ask award has been a recipe for success as it has increased business. At Harry’s we collect the best of local produce direct from the people who farm, grow and catch it. We would encourage all restaurants across the country to demonstrate their commitment to local growers and suppliers.”

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