Does word of mouth help consumers choose a restaurant?
February 9th, 2024, Bhavika Bansal

Does word of mouth help consumers choose a restaurant?

When it comes to choosing a restaurant or bar to visit, the options available to most consumers today are endless. Understanding how consumers cut through the clutter and what sources of information they rely on to make purchase decisions about where to eat can be insightful for restaurateurs and marketers alike. While a recent YouGov poll reveals that more than two out five consumers say they regularly use online consumer reviews to make purchase decisions about restaurants and bars, this article takes a closer look at the impact of word of mouth on such decisions. 

Of all the products and services, we listed, consumers across 17 international markets are most likely to take the help of word of mouth to make purchase decisions about restaurants and bars- 21% say word of mouth helps them “a great deal” while 45% say it helps “a fair amount”. 

More than half of our respondents also say that word of mouth helps them make purchase decisions about cinemas and TV shows (57%), consumer electronics (56%), hotels (55%) and healthcare services (54%).

Taking a closer look at consumers who believe word of mouth helps them “a fair amount” or “a great deal” while choosing a restaurant or bar, by market, reveals interesting differences.

While three out of four consumers in Hong Kong say word of mouth is helpful when picking a restaurant (76%), this proportion falls substantially among other APAC markets, especially in India (64%) and Indonesia (62%).

More than two-thirds of consumers in the UAE (67%) say the same, as do our respondents in Canada and Mexico (69% and 67%).

Respondents across the European markets we polled also display similarly scattered opinions. Close to four-fifths of consumers in Spain (78% - the highest across all polled markets) say they find word of mouth helpful in picking restaurants and bars followed by 72% of consumers in France and Italy, and 71% of consumers in Great Britain. Our Nordic respondents, on the other hand, are much less likely to agree – Sweden (48%) and Denmark (40%) are the only two markets where the share of consumers who consider word of mouth helpful in making such purchase decisions about restaurants/bars is outpaced by the international average.

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today

Try a subscription-free data snapshot of your brand performance, sector trends or audience profile, with a one-time deep dive into YouGov's flagship consumer intelligence and brand tracking products. Get your tailor-made snapshot here

Discover more FMCG content here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 508 and 2,001 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in September 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.