Consumer Trends

Survey: Millennials feel awkward sending back restaurant food

Older customers are more likely than younger ones to return a meal to the kitchen.

When choosing restaurants, millennials are outspoken about issues such as sustainability and transparency, finds Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report. But when it comes to sending back a restaurant meal that’s not to their liking, they tend to shut up.

Older customers are more likely to send food back than 18- to 34-year-olds, according to data collected in a recent survey of 1.8 million people by YouGov Omnibus. If there’s a problem with a restaurant meal, 61% of those over age 55 say they’re comfortable sending food back, while 52% of millennials feel uncomfortable doing so. In fact, 15% of this younger group would never send food back, the survey reports.

Circumstances play a part in customers’ behavior. Among respondents surveyed, these are the top reasons they would send food back in a restaurant:

  • Served the wrong meal (85%)
  • Food was undercooked (82%)
  • Food had a hair in it (81%)
  • The plate was not clean (80%)

Overcooking, dislike of the food, poor presentation and small portion size fell off significantly as reasons for a return.

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