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Millions of Brits who never checked their favourite takeaway’s hygiene rating – as long as the food was good – are now more vigilant about cleanliness.

A study of 2,000 adults found eight in 10 were previously happy to take their chances, often buying a takeaway without looking into how clean the shop was.

Instead, three quarters admitted the quality of the food was their main priority.

Now, more than a quarter said they will ‘always’ check a takeaway’s hygiene rating before putting in an order.

And 64 per cent of those polled by P&G Professional said a clean shop and a good hygiene rating are now the most important considerations when choosing where to purchase food from, above the cost (58 per cent) and customer service (45 per cent).

In comparison, research carried out in 2019 saw just 55 per cent name hygiene as a priority.

Speaking ahead of National Fish and Chip Day on Friday, John Molnar, owner of award-winning chain The Cod’s Scallops, in Nottingham, said: “The heightened awareness surrounding infection control means business owners should be paying more attention to their hygiene practices than ever before.

“Cleaning, and the brands you choose, should be a critical part of your business strategy, especially since these results show the clear impact a low rating or bad impression can have on your bottom line.”

Kelly Barnes of Krispies, a fish and chip shop in Exmouth, added: “To operate successfully, it’s clear that businesses need to show clearly how processes are managed so visitors feel confident about cleanliness.

“To keep both customers, and Krispies staff safe, we’re following three simple steps: frequent cleaning, enforcing social distancing, and regular hand washing.”

The study also found that one in four are likely to pay attention to a restaurant’s hygiene rating for a quick meal from a takeaway while on the move.

But this figure nearly doubles if it’s somewhere you want to visit for a family meal.

Unsurprisingly, getting a bite to eat at the end of a night out is when Brits are least likely to worry about the hygiene score (22 per cent).

It also emerged one in three respondents would be more likely to frequent a restaurant or takeaway if the staff used cleaning brands they recognised.

Another 68 per cent would feel reassured about how hygienic a fish and chip shop or takeaway is if they see staff physically cleaning while they’re in there.

A chip shop or other takeaway looking ‘clean and tidy’ was also found to be what would make adults feel most comfortable when visiting (57 per cent).

This came above staff wearing masks (51 per cent), customers wearing masks (29 per cent) and even employees wearing gloves (53 per cent).

It also emerged that since the coronavirus outbreak, four in 10 adults are more likely to report breaches of cleanliness in their local takeaways.

The study also found that the pandemic hasn’t dampened the nation’s love of a takeaway, with a fifth tucking into a dish like fish and chips once a week or more.

And proving the concept of ‘fish and chip Fridays’ is still relevant, that day was the most likely for people to treat themselves.

Fish and chips was also found to be the most popular takeaway during lockdown, with 29 per cent of the vote – closely followed by pizza (26 per cent).

Two-thirds of chip lovers are also trying to frequent their local chippy as a way of supporting the local economy, according to the OnePoll figures.

Greg Elmore, UK & Ireland country sales lead at P&G Professional, said: “As the UK slowly starts to emerge from lockdown, it’s a great opportunity to support local businesses, and these results show that two thirds of chip lovers are doing just that by frequenting their favourite chippy to boost the economy.

“Yet the last few months have made a lot of people think more about cleanliness and hygiene, which can only be a good thing – particularly where their food is concerned.

“These statistics show that customers want to know and see how businesses are managing cleanliness, and it is critical that this is communicated clearly to the public.

“Transparency surrounding cleaning processes will have a profound impact on the success of the food service industry over the next year.

“The recent launch of the P&G Professional CleanPLUS Experience answers this need.

“Available as a window sticker or digital asset for website use via the NFFF, this stamp of approval from trusted household name brands (Fairy, Flash and Ariel) is a mark of assurance for guests that an establishment has been cleaned to the highest standards.”

THINGS THAT MAKE BRITS FEEL COMFORTABLE IN TAKEAWAYS
The takeaway/ restaurant looks clean and tidy
Guests are required to social distance
Employees wearing gloves when handling food / drinks
Guests must sanitize their hands upon entering the takeout shop / restaurant
Staff are wearing masks
More frequent cleaning
Contactless payments
Guests can see their table / food collection area being cleaned and prepared before they sit down
More thorough cleaning
Guests are restricted to one person at a time when using toilets
You can see cleaning products which are being used regularly
Guests must be wearing masks
Guests have to show proof of wellness

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