Fast-food and takeaway outlets have become a staple feature of many town and city centres across the UK. Just like retail and grocery stores, consumers have become used to having easy access to them. Over the last decade, despite the rapid growth of recognisable chains, the presence of independent fast-food and takeaway outlets has remained steady. Even with massive chains featured more prominently, consumer appetite for independent outlets has not faded.
Aside from the convenience and price – it’s often the ambience and authenticity that these independent outlets embody that entices customers. With such ‘influences’ at the forefront of their minds, consumers often overlook or forget to consider the hygiene and cleanliness of the outlets they choose to eat from.
With larger well-known chains typically operating under a franchise model, they are subject to various rigorous procedures to ensure safety and hygiene standards are consistently met. On the other hand, independent outlets are self-dependent, thus entirely responsible for carefully managing their own safety and hygiene levels.
At Londoncleaningcystem.co.uk, we wanted to find out what independent fast-food and takeaway outlets hygiene ratings are across the UK.
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From the central point of 22 different towns and cities across the UK, we sought to find out the exact number of independent fast-food and takeaway outlets within a one-mile radius. The categories we focused on with regards to identifying the independent fast-food and takeaway outlets in each of the respective towns and cities were as follows: Pizza, Kebab, Chicken, Chinese, Indian and Fish & Chips. They were selected on the premise that they are usually the most popular cuisines when it comes to fast-food and takeaway in the UK.
Once all the independent fast-food and takeaway spots were found in each of the reviewed towns and cities, each outlet was cross-referenced against the government’s ‘Food Standards Agency’ website to find out their current hygiene rating from their latest inspection. The ratings ranged from 0 to 5 and were classified as: 0 = Urgent Improvement Necessary, 1 = Major Improvement Necessary, 2 = Improvement Necessary, 3 = Generally Satisfactory, 4 = Good and 5 = Very Good. For each outlet, the rating by the ‘Food Standards Agency’ covered food handling, management of food safety and cleanliness of facilities/building.
Overall, a total of 643 fast-food and takeaway outlets were reviewed for the research. Out of the 643 outlets – 10 were rated as ‘0-Urgent Improvement Necessary’, 72 as ‘1-Major Improvement Necessary’, 44 as ‘2-Improvement Necessary’, 169 as ‘3-Generally Satisfactory’, 156 as ‘4-Good’ and 192 as ‘5-Very Good’. A comprehensive breakdown through the table below highlights the ratings which independent fast-food and takeaway outlets have received in each of the 22 different towns and cities:
“When I usually get a takeaway, I focus on two variables in my decision-making. It’s the type of food I fancy and the price. As long as they have what I am looking for and the prices are reasonable, I don’t really consider anything else. The hygiene of the outlets I choose to eat from is not really on my mind because I naturally expect them to take caution and pride with this. Research like this certainly demonstrates that this is not always the case and as consumers we should be taking more caution about where we choose to eat from”. – Michael (36) from Leicester
“Just like many others, I personally prefer going to independent rather than well-established fast-food outlets. Independent outlets not only offer better value for money but provide a more authentic experience. An experience that many massive chain brands cannot replicate. With that in mind, I do tend to overlook other aspects of the independent outlets. This includes hygiene with respect to their attitude towards cleanliness. This research certainly shows that independent outlets have a differing approach towards their hygiene and not all are making it their primary priority. Hygiene is something which I am going to begin to consider when making the decision of where to eat from”. – Laura (28) from York
Filip Mijatov, Managing Director of LondonCleaningSystem.co.uk commented:
“Whilst the majority of independent fast-food and takeaway outlets are excelling at maintaining hygiene at the heart of their operations, there are many others which are failing to do so. With consumers putting a lot of faith and consciously supporting their independent outlets to thrive, hygiene should certainly be a high priority. Independent outlets should repay the faith by ensuring all aspects of their processes are carefully monitored and thoroughly looked after to constantly achieve high standards. Consumers obviously expect the quality of food and condition of the outlets they eat from to be the very least satisfactory, those outlets failing to even meet this basic level should be actively working hard to improve their standards”.
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