Poor hygiene turns away customers

Over half (55%) of Australians say they have stopped ordering from one or more food and beverage (F&B) outlets after being aware of poor hygiene practices, according to national research from YouGov Surveys.

Notably, food hygiene is a significantly bigger concern among younger Australians. Around two in three Gen Z (66%) and Millennials (64%) have avoided dining establishments due to hygiene reasons, compared to just over half of Gen X (54%) and less than half of Baby Boomers (45%).

Trust factors

When asked to highlight factors that indicate a dining establishment is sanitary, three-quarters of Aussies say visible cleanliness of the outlet (76%) would assure them about the upheld hygiene standards.

About three in five said they would be reassured knowing the F&B outlet follows best practices in food handling and storage (62%) and observing service staff practice good hygiene (58%).

Meanwhile, businesses that display food safety inspections and certifications also assure two-fifths (39%) of Aussies.

Channel concerns

The research also found that restaurants and cafes generally enjoy the best hygiene perception in Australia, while food courts and fast-food chains are least likely to be seen as hygienic.

Almost three in five (59%) Aussies think restaurants in their neighbourhood are quite / very hygienic, while half (51%) of Aussies say the same for cafes.

In comparison, closer to a third have similar views of their local pubs/bars (32%) and fast-food chains (30%), ahead of a quarter for food courts (26%).

On the other hand, almost a quarter of Aussies think that food courts (25%) and fast-food chains (24%) in their neighbourhood are quite / very unhygienic – compared to a sixth for local pubs/bars (16%) and less than a tenth for cafés (8%) and restaurants (6%).

Eyes on

The research comes as a McDonald’s store in Queensland recently made the news after video footage of staff members drying a floor mop under heat lamps used to warm fries and standing on a food preparation area with work boots on was posted online.

More than a third of Aussies say they have witnessed first-hand hygiene safety issues at fast-food chains (37%) and food courts (36%) in their neighbourhood before.

In comparison, close to three in ten have personally observed lapses in hygiene practices at local pubs/bars (28%), while around a quarter have seen the same at restaurants and cafes (both 26%).

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