How hygienic do most Australians think various food and beverage outlets in their neighbourhood are?
June 26th, 2024, Samuel Tan

How hygienic do most Australians think various food and beverage outlets in their neighbourhood are?

A McDonald’s outlet in Queensland, Australia, recently made the news after video footage of staff members drying a floor mop under heat lamps used to warm French fries and standing on a food preparation area with work boots on was posted online.

McDonald’s Australia has since responded that they have conducted thorough sanitisation, hygiene and food safety re-training for all employees, and have fired the errant staff member.

But what do most Aussies think about the hygiene standards of food and beverage (F&B) outlets in their neighbourhood? Do their views on fast food outlets versus cafés, food courts and restaurants significantly differ in this regard? And what factors are most likely to assure Aussies that a food and beverage outlet is hygienic?

How hygienic do Australians think various food and beverage businesses in their neighbourhood are?

Latest YouGov Surveys research show that restaurants and cafés generally enjoy the best hygiene perception in Australia, while food courts and fast-food chains are least likely to be seen as hygienic.

Almost three in five (59%) Aussies think restaurants in their neighbourhood are quite / very hygienic, while half (51%) of Aussies say the same for cafés. In comparison, closer to a third have similar views of their local pubs/bars (32%) and fast-food chains (30%), ahead of a quarter for food courts (26%).

On the other hand, almost a quarter of Aussies think that food courts (25%) and fast-food chains (24%) in their neighbourhood are quite / very unhygienic – compared to a sixth for local pubs/bars (16%) and less than a tenth for cafés (8%) and restaurants (6%).

How do hygiene perceptions of various dining chains in Australia compare?Get in touch

Are hygiene safety issues at local food and beverage businesses commonly observed?

More than a third of Aussies say they have witnessed first-hand hygiene safety issues at fast-food chains (37%) and food courts (36%) in their neighbourhood before.

In comparison, close to three in ten have personally observed lapses in hygiene practices at local pubs/bars (28%), while around a quarter have seen the same at restaurants and cafés (both 26%).

Among Australia’s three most popular states, residents of New South Wales are most likely to have observed hygiene safety issues at local dining establishments, ahead of Queensland and Victoria.

Around two-fifths (40-42%) of New South Wales residents have witnessed unsanitary practices at fast food chains and food courts in their neighbourhood – the two dining establishments with the most observed hygiene lapses across all states – compared to about a third (33-35%) of residents of Queensland and Victoria.

The percentage of New South Wales residents who have observed hygiene safety issues at restaurants (31%) and pubs/bars and cafés (both 29%) are comparable. But in Queensland, unsanitary practices at pubs/bars (30%) are more commonly observed than in restaurants (26%) and cafes (24%), while in Victoria, unsanitary practices at restaurants (19%) are less common than in cafés (21%) and pubs/bars (24%).

How often do Aussies in other states observe hygiene safety issues at local dining establishments?Get in touch

What proportion of Aussies have avoided dining establishments due to hygiene reasons?

Nationally, over half (55%) of Australians say that have stopped ordering from one or more F&B outlet(s) after being aware of its/their poor hygiene practices.

Notably, food hygiene is a significantly bigger concern among younger Australians. Around two in three Gen Z (66%) and Millennials (64%) have avoided dining establishments due to hygiene reasons, compared to over half of Gen X (54%) and less than half of Baby Boomers (45%).

What would most assure Aussies that a food and beverage outlet is hygienic?

When asked to highlight factors that indicate a dining establishment is sanitary, three-quarters of Aussies say visible cleanliness of the outlet (76%) would assure them about the hygiene standards upheld.

About three in five highlight knowing the F&B outlet follows best practices in food handling and storage (62%) and observing service staff practice good hygiene (58%), the next two factors Aussies are most likely to say makes them feel confident that a dining establishment is hygienic.

Businesses that display food safety inspections and certifications also assure two-fifths (39%) of Aussies, while a fifth say that reading reviews that mention a F&B outlet’s cleanliness and knowing staff are regularly trained on food safety (both 22%) gives them confidence.

Want more insights into the F&B industry in Australia and other APAC markets?Get in touch

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online in June 2024, with a national sample of 1,001 Australian residents, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, and region to be representative of all adults in Australia (18 years or older) and reflect the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Cover Photo by hocus-focus