Are Brits turning into a nation of fussy diners? New research from OpenTable’s U.K. team uncovered an interesting change in the ordering habits of British foodies: almost a third (28%) of U.K. diners say they like to order completely off-menu at a restaurant.
Known as “menu hacking,” growing demand for a bespoke experience has seen a rise in menu customization, with over half (56%) the UK adapting a dish on a restaurant menu to suit their taste. Over half (57%) of diners also believe it is their right to order food off-menu. Plus, 38% of diners say that when craving a specific dish, they would rather visit a restaurant they love and order off-menu than try out somewhere new.
The most frequently removed items on restaurant menus include sauce (11%), mushrooms (10%) and meat (8%). The biggest driver is a distaste for certain ingredients (56%), followed by enjoying adding extras (22%) and a lack of menu choice (15%).
The research also showed that women are less bashful about making requests to change their order: 59% of women are proud to do so, compared to 52% of men. As many as 4.8 million (15%) of women admit to altering menu dishes in order to make them healthier, while 30% of men adapt their dish to add extras.
What does it mean for restaurants?
No surprise here: as a result of these trends, U.K. restaurants are going out of their way to oblige diners. A recent survey of local restaurateurs revealed that an impressive 94% of restaurants would accommodate a guest’s requirements and requests in order to encourage loyalty to their restaurant. Another 80% of restaurants admitted to seeing an increase in diners ordering dishes that are not on the restaurant menu, or changing a dish that is on the menu.
What are your thoughts on menu hacking? Let us know!
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