Food anxieties: SUBWAY reveals Brits' restaurant fears

couple at a restaurant outside cafe

On average Brits eat 36 meals outside of the home that they’re unhappy with every year

Britons are widely recognised for being polite and well mannered, so it’s hardly surprising that most experience various anxieties about eating out at restaurants, even including the many ways their partners might embarrass them. But are they missing out on the perfect meal?

Sending back an order has been named the most embarrassing thing you can do at a restaurant, according to a recent study of 2,000 respondents commissioned by the SUBWAY® brand and conducted by OnePoll.

Complaining about the service and mispronouncing the menu are also factors that cause British diners anxiety. Indeed, only 30% would complain if an order wasn’t to their liking, whilst a staggering 65% of people order food that is easy or less messy than what they actually want, so as not to create a scene and embarrass the person they are with.

One in five Brits have even been embarrassed by their other halves when eating out together, the survey has revealed. Millions of Brits have been left red-faced after their partner struggled to pronounce an order correctly, clicked their fingers at staff or complained unnecessarily about something.

1 in 5 are embarrassed by their partners when eating out
Average Brit eats 36 meals out that they’re unhappy with a year
40% of Brits wouldn’t complain if their food tasted bad

The study also showed that a date being on the phone when ordering or speaking with their mouth full were amongst the list of reasons Britons are embarrassed by their partners when eating out.

The research found regular food faux pas include knocking things off the plate, ordering ‘off menu’ and having a credit card declined.

While their partners may be lacking in manners, 40% of the 2,000 polled would never complain if a food order wasn’t right or tasted bad, with the average person munching through 36 meals out, every year that are far from their liking.

And a nervous six in 10 Brits are so worried about what a date or partner thinks of them while eating that they often ignore their preferred choice of food for something that’s more straightforward.

The study marks the launch of Subway’s new ‘Stay Picky’ campaign, which encourages Brits to be picky and proud, and includes the launch of a new seven-hour, slow cooked BBQ Pulled Pork Sub this month [May].

“When it comes to eating out it seems that for many of us there is a set of unwritten rules and behaviours that we expect our dates to follow,” points out Roger Cusa, head of marketing for the SUBWAY® brand in UK and Ireland. “Failure to do so can often give the wrong impression.

“It’s clear from the results that a person being rude, loud or lacking in manners can quickly embarrass those they are with. It’s important people recognise that simply having the confidence to get the order they were hoping for is OK. There’s a tradition of people keeping quiet when receiving food they don’t like so as not to cause a fuss or seem picky.”

Other behaviours that drive embarrassment while eating are being too greedy, and haggling for money off the bill. While tucking a napkin into a collar is also not likely to go down well with the other diner as that appears on the list of embarrassments too.

“People think that knowing what you want and asking for it or seeming particular in your requests for food is a bad thing but we want to do away with this stereotype and encourage everyone to be picky and proud,” Cusa concludes.

Top reasons a partner has embarrassed the other when eating out

1. Sent back an order
2. Complained about the service
3. Negotiate substitutes e.g. swapping an egg for an extra rasher of bacon
4. Ordered a dish that wasn’t on the menu
5. Asked for ketchup
6. Clicked at serving staff
7. Complained about the food
8. Mispronounced something off the menu
9. Ordered too much food – they were greedy
10. Refused to pay for their order
11. Refused to eat their order
12. They were a messy eater
13. Tried to get discount off the bill
14. Refused to pay for the entire meal
15. They were rude to the staff
16. Knocked food off the plate
17. On their phone the whole time
18. Had a card declined
19. Spoke with their mouthful the whole time
20. Tucked their napkin into their collar

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