Masks in hospitality

Masks are rising on customers’ agenda

Overall customer confidence in health and hygiene remains strong within hospitality, with little change since re-opening weekend- 95% of those who visited a hospitality venue this week feel confident enough to return. Despite this, the Customer Sentiment Tracker from Feed It Back and KAM Media found that the use of masks in hospitality has become a focus area for many this week.

The number one reason given as to why 5% of customers did not feel safe enough to return was that staff weren’t wearing masks. ‘Mask wearing’ was the top reason given by 18% of these nervous customers. Interestingly, it hasn’t featured as a concern in previous weeks when the top concerns were social distancing and covid-hygiene.

“When we look at feedback for specific venues where their staff do wear masks, their customers seem to be very happy about it and feel very safe. As people get increasingly used to seeing people in masks, it may go so far as becoming an expectation or even a requirement for some customers when choosing which venues to visit.” Carlo Platia, CEO at Feed It Back

Cleanliness becomes a top complaint

We mentioned last week that cleanliness (or lack of it) has made a regular appearance in the top 5 customer complaints since re-opening weekend. It was way down the list pre-lockdown. The areas of cleanliness which customers are most concerned about this week are unclean tables, toilets and floors. 1-in-11 also complained about lack of mask wearing.

This isn’t the sexy or fun bit of hospitality but right now it’s critical to get right. There are two clear areas operators need to get right with regards to covid-hygiene. Firstly the reality of sticking to health and safety procedures. Secondly, how visible this is to customers. This means adopting a more ‘high profile’ approach to cleanliness. Perception is reality for customers- operators need to leave no doubt in their minds that they are safe.

VAT cuts less of a concern

Another change in sentiment this week: VAT cuts seem to be losing focus. When looking at complaints about ‘value’, 4% of customers mentioned ‘VAT not being passed on to customers’ last week. This week it is just 2%.

The concern about VAT is likely to be driven by press coverage. As the press move on, it’s price and food quality that are the real issues with regards to value for money. Putting our focus on schemes like ‘Eat Out, Give Back’ will really help hospitality create customer demand.

Net promoter scores (NPS) remain strong

Overall the hospitality net promoter scores (NPS) remain really strong at 59, with the ‘premium casual’ segment leading the charge (74). Satisfaction ratings in ‘premium casual’ are also well above other hospitality segments.

“Premium casual is really justifying it’s price tag. The segment is attracting ‘satisfaction ratings’ above pre-lockdown levels for all areas. Best in class NPS is as high as 84, suggesting that some operators are really over-delivering in terms of safety procedures, food and drink quality and overall experience.” Carlo Platia, CEO at Feed It Back

The new Customer Sentiment Tracker measures key KPI’s focussed on customer sentiment including NPS and satisfaction ratings covering cleanliness, atmosphere, service and value. Operators can trial the Feed It Back system for free right now and be included in the tracker. To receive the tracker direct to your inbox, visit

Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).