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The latest data from leading online review specialist, Feed It Back has revealed which ingredients in the British roast dinner drive consumers to make positive or negative reviews.

By analysing thousands of online and social reviews across the restaurant and bar industries, the statistics reveal that beef is the ingredient that can make or break a roast, with the word beef driving 28% of positive reviews (the highest of all ingredients). Conversely, it also features in 42% of all negative reviews, indicating its power to garner positive endorsement or a negative review.

Diving deeper into the narrative behind the reviews, the insight shows that the way the beef is cooked is crucial to consumers, with the word ‘cook’ featuring in 18% of positive reviews across the sectors. Those guests unhappy with how their beef was cooked, often referred to the beef being tough.

Interestingly, other meats, such as chicken and pork, are less likely to drive positive endorsement, accounting for 6% and 4% of positive reviews respectively. However, both meats account for 21% of negative reviews, indicating that customers are not wowed by the product, but do expect a base level of quality, which when not met can lead to negative feedback.

Whether mashed, roasted, dauphinoise or boiled, potatoes are a key component on a roast dinner that operators need to get right. In fact, they lead the way for negative reviews, with 47% of negative reviews across the pub and bar and restaurant sectors referencing the word potato; focusing on cold and hard potatoes, in particular.

Yorkshire puddings are also a key driver of negative reviews accounting for 27% of all bad feedback. The main gripes were around availability and execution with particular focus on the product being greasy. It wouldn’t be a roast without gravy and ensuring this is up to scratch is also key to generating positive reviews, making up 14% of positive reviews. Guests disappointed with gravy described it as tasteless or watery, as well as referencing the quantity.

Commenting on the insight, Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back, said, “As a cornerstone of British cuisine, the humble roast dinner is a much-loved dish across the country and one that Brits are very passionate about. For many, heading out for a roast on a Sunday is a special occasion and the insight clearly shows that consumer expectations are very high.

“Beef – often the most premium meat on the menu – is a make or break plate item that will leave guests feeling satisfied or disappointed. Tracking guest sentiment during a busy Sunday service is very challenging without the use of technology, but by utilising technology to analyse feedback, operators can get to the bottom of what customers really think about their offer, focusing specifically on deciding factors, such as beef.

“Insight is only a piece of the puzzle, the crucial part is its implementation by the team, rather than being left purely with the marketing department, or customer service teams in isolation to engage with guests, all teams, from the kitchen to operations, can benefit from the insight. This could be anything from specifics such as how the meat is cooked, the timings for getting the products to the kitchen, or what items are chosen for the plate.”

(source: Feed It Back, image: pixabay)