Cleanliness least important factor for Christmas diners

Cleanliness is the least important factor for diners choosing where to eat out during the festive period, according to Dine Out's latest Festive Report.

Just 12% of people confirmed that cleanliness would be an important factor when making a venue choice, with only 20% saying that safety would play a major part in their decision.

Instead, 63% of respondents claimed atmosphere would be imperative to venue choice, 59% will prioritise the quality of food and drink and 54% of people would be more concerned about prices. 

The research, which was compiled by research company Savanta, asked 1,000 consumers about their current Christmas plans when thinking about eating and drinking out of home this year.

The low ranking of safety and cleanliness for venue choices could indicate consumers are generally confident that hospitality venues around the UK are already hitting the mark when it comes to hygienic practices during the ongoing pandemic. 

"We interviewed people who have been out to a pub, bar or restaurant in September about their recent experiences and their plans for Christmas, and there were definitely some encouraging signs," says Oliver Fenton, senior consultant at Savanta.

"One in four people intend to eat out on Christmas Day - in line with expectations in 2018, and one in three people said the 10pm curfew had little or no effect on their Christmas plans.

"The most important drivers for choice remain the same as ever - food and drink quality and atmosphere. 

"As everyone must now comply with safety and cleanliness protocols, it's not a key discerning factor behind consumer choice."

If England's second national lockdown ends as planned on Wednesday 2 December, and the UK's devolved nations don't return to stricter measures over the festive period by closing venues to dine-in customers, then there's hope for operators that consumers remain undeterred to dine out this year.