A study by KwikChex has shown that loss of reputation caused by association with gastro-intestinal illness comes at a huge price - whether the accusations are true or false.
The worst hit you can take as a hospitality business owner is when there is news and online content that says you have made your customers sick.
The study was carried out after KwikChex noticed a significant spike in news stories of both actual outbreaks affecting UK hospitality businesses and also online allegations.
Cases in the news recently include:
Norovirus affected businesses from Scotland to the Isle of Wight, with businesses right across the spectrum, and included brands such as Gleneagles, Toby Carvery and Mandarin Oriental, where the two Michelin star Heston Blumenthal restaurant 'Dinner was forced to close.
The initial costs can be huge - closures, deep cleaning, further cancellations including large functions such as weddings can easily cost a 100 room hotel over £100,000.
Subsequent events, such as legal action by victims, potential fines and the ongoing damage to reputation caused by online content can multiply the initial figure several times over.
Food poisoning cases have also been hitting the news, with a Holiday Inn in Bristol fined £65,000, a manager and chef of a Mitchell & Butler pub jailed and diners hospitalised after eating at a Harvester restaurant.
Ironically, in spite of all the news about actual cases, KwikChex research and active involvement in several cases has shown that a very high percentage of online reviews alleging food poisoning are false - sometimes malicious and sometimes mistaken. The damage caused, though is still very significant, with affected businesses saying they suffer drops in bookings of around 30% when hit by such allegations.
In response, KwikChex is launching a solutions package that includes:
And for Consumers
Alongside the solutions for businesses, KwikChex will also be providing online information, and expert scientific advice for consumers to help them avoid illness, report it when it happens,and gain compensation when appropriate. It will include a directory of businesses that are operating to certified high standards.
For more information - contact KwikChex