Top 3 Hospitality Pet Hates: Impos’ Survey Reveals All

To become successful in the hospitality industry, hospitality managers and owners have a due diligence to understand the ins-and-outs of the industry.

Enter the significant 2017 Impos hospitality survey, which polled 600 diverse hospitality workers on everything from food trends to business growth predictions, major issues facing the hospitality sector to opinions about penalty rate cuts, marketing tips to POS insights.

The survey also asked respondents to name their top hospitality pet hates. And the revealing insights found can aid hospitality managers by providing knowledge, guidance and ways to counter these pet hates in the workplace.

On a macro level, the answers help explain what makes employees boil over and behave the way they do—the good, the bad, and the ugly – and to delve deeper into employee thought processes.

Here is a rundown of the survey’s three highest-ranking pet hates, important takeaways, and strategies to help mitigate some of these not-so-sweet scenarios.

#3: Customers using their social media ‘influence’ to get free meals

Social media influencer gets free meal

Somewhat surprisingly, the third most popular pet hate in hospitality went to customers who try to use their social media influence to hassle workers for a free meal. 42.1% of the hospitality respondents voted for this ‘influencer marketing’ trend.


Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. An almighty successor to reality television, it has provided a whole new platform for average Joes to become overnight celebrities.

Unfortunately, even those with a modest “following” on social media have begun to consider themselves rising stars, taking full advantage of any celebrity perks they can along the way.

This problem, much like the sway of social media, affects hospitality workers on a global scale, and it’s one not likely to disappear anytime soon.

However, there is a silver lining. Influencer marketing is being talked about and a lot of people aren’t happy with the practice. Stricter guidelines have even been introduced to try to keep it in check. Whether this will have the desired effect remains to be seen.

#2:  Customers who say they have allergies, but really just dislike the food

customers lie about food allergies to disguise dislike

In second place, with 47.7% of the vote, are customers who fake having a severe allergy to avoid food they just dislike. It appears that hospitality workers are perceptive and have seen enough to weed out the valid allergy sufferers from the poseurs.


Much like the presence of social media, awareness surrounding food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances has been on the rise for some time now, and it’s unlikely to fall off the public radar any time soon.

Sadly, claiming an allergy has become a more socially acceptable way to avoid certain foods. And the problem is that it undermines people who suffer from real allergies and sensitivities, severe problems for a lot of people.

From a hospitality perspective, the solution is to be as accommodating as possible. The fact is that a lot of people do suffer from allergies and you should be catering to as many customers as possible.

So, while it might be annoying to see someone blatantly lie to your face, the simple truth is that food allergies have become trendy.

#1: Customers that don’t show up to a booking

empty café because of no shows

A pet hate that’s been around for as long as time itself, no-shows are the top pet hate for hospitality workers, obtaining a stunning 51.1% of the vote. 


At the end of the day, this is a long-term, industry-wide problem, one that everyone has to find a way to acknowledge and accept.

Unexpected events are always going to be a part of life, which means reservation cancellations will always be an ongoing battle in the realm of hospitality booking. But there are a few ways to minimise booking issues and all the hassle that goes with it.

The first option is to remove bookings from your restaurant altogether. This removes issues associated with booking and is especially effective for popular restaurants that will likely fill up anyway. However, this can leave your establishment open to criticism about not treating people like guests or disgruntled patrons having to wait in line.

Another method is to take bookings online and to capture credit card details in the process. This way, you keep the existing infrastructure and allow people to book but introduce a cancellation clause that charges, say, $10 for every cancellation.

Or you can always just go ahead and shame and/or blacklist no-shows. Famous Copenhagen restaurant Noma is one example among many that revealed the names of their no-show customers online. And others have gone so far as to block those who failed to show up, either directly or through popular reservation systems like Dimmi.

Recommendations for Overcoming Hospitality Pet Hates

Happy hospitality workers train to overcome pet hates

So, what else can hospitality leaders glean from this survey?

If an employee is feeling annoyed with certain pet hates, chances are they aren’t the only one. Let employees know they are not alone. Provide alternative outlets to express their frustrations (i.e. a role-play training scenario amongst teammates). Additionally, give workers the tools to cope with customer grievances in smart, constructive ways.

Hospitality leaders need to take the time to address customer-related pet hates as a team. Leaders should provide a safe, welcoming, non-judgmental platform for employees to express themselves. Discuss possible solutions and how to handle unpleasant interactions in productive ways.

Lastly, don’t forget to encourage the team to “laugh it off.” Touted as the world’s best medicine, laughter has been proven to reduce stress, improve employee morale, strengthen team spirit, improve communication, energize people, and even boost sales.

Find a commonality amongst workers, shared feelings and shared emotions, and approach pet hates empathetically. A constructive team-building session will not only give employees the chance to practice their new strategies, but it will also build important rapport and trust among staff. Lest we forget, at the core of any great hospitality team rests a strong foundation of support.

For more great hospitality readings about Impos’ landmark survey, be sure to read about the latest food trends or about the major issues facing the hospitality industry.