Despite the cost of living crisis, consumers are still willing to splash out on dining and drinking experiences – but their expectations are higher than ever, according to a new report from customer experience platform Reputation.

The report analysed thousands of guest reviews on Google across more than 7,200 locations of some of the UK’s biggest hospitality brands. It found that customer sentiment is generally (81%) positive, despite disruptions due to the pandemic, staff shortages, and the cost of living crisis.

The findings indicated guests care the most about courtesy, food, and taste and temperature. Negative reviews frequently came from guests dissatisfied with standards of cooking and food preparation, while positive sentiment came from those who termed the service as friendly, efficient, or helpful.

Guests were also likely to remark on the volume of music, as well as cleanliness.

Positive and negative review sentiment is up, but neutral reviews are down, suggesting customers are both more critical and vocal about their experiences.

While businesses are also more vocal in responding – with only 12% of comments left with no response, compared to 47% in 2021 – 22% of negative reviews are not responded to.

The findings further indicated guests are highly sentimental about pubs and concerned about the survival of local pubs and the industry as a whole. This can be an opportunity for pub operators to drive guest advocacy of drinking establishments as well as forge relationships with local communities while driving revenue and business performance.