Man eating pasta with bad manners

(© ajr_images -

LONDON — If you’re looking to impress someone over dinner — be nice to the restaurant staff! A new survey finds the biggest dining turn-offs include licking fingers when eating, double-dipping, eating with your mouth open, and (worst of all) being rude to the server.

The study of 2,000 adults reveals 60 percent can’t stand people who are rude to waiters, while 49 percent hate it when someone spits something back onto their plate. Other “icks” include playing with food, criticizing someone’s cooking, and putting ketchup on every meal.

However, 63 percent admitted food was important to them when it comes to relationships – with 21 percent claiming it would cause a rift if their partner didn’t enjoy their favorite meal. The stats emerged in a study commissioned by Domino’s to mark its partnership with Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

“Over the years, I’ve been able to get a real insight into relationships and what makes people tick – and something that always comes up on top is food, says psychologist and love expert Jo Hemmings in a statement.

“Food really is an important element when it comes to relationships and dating. You can always a tell a thing or two by a person’s eating and food habits – so, whether you’re lucky in love, or can’t stand the sight of Valentine’s Day, remember to keep these top ticks and icks in mind.”

Smiling waitress hold notepad take order serving couple customers
If you’re looking to impress someone over dinner — be nice to the restaurant staff!  (© fizkes –

The OnePoll survey also found that while there’s an abundance of food icks which turn us off, only 28 percent would be willing to speak out about them on a first date. Another 23 percent are unwilling to date someone who sticks to the straight and narrow and is a fussy eater.

If you’re looking to win over a potential suitor, a meal is a good way of going about it, as 82 percent admit food makes them happy. Having someone cook for you (54%), a surprise date night, and someone else doing the tidying up after you’ve cooked (both 35%), are also among the top food turn-ons.

While the other half picking up the bill was also a positive for 35 percent, particularly for women (42%), compared to just 27 percent of men. If you’re wondering whether going out might be the answer though, think again, as a takeaway at home (55%) far outweighs a night out (21%).

Top 30 Food Turn-Offs:

  1. Being rude to waiters or waitresses
  2. Eating with your mouth open
  3. Talking with a mouth full of food
  4. Spitting something back out onto a plate
  5. Picking your teeth
  6. Slurping soup
  7. Eating other people’s leftovers without asking
  8. Licking a knife
  9. Criticizing someone’s cooking
  10. Licking fingers instead of using a napkin
  11. Double-dipping on a shared spread
  12. Starting to eat before the whole table has their food
  13. Putting ketchup on every meal
  14. Preparing fish in the office microwave
  15. Playing with food
  16. Hogging food
  17. Swallowing without chewing
  18. Slurping in spaghetti or noodles
  19. Stealing some of your chips while they wait for their own meal
  20. Adding salt before you have tried the food
  21. Eating really quickly
  22. Eating with hands
  23. Hogging dips
  24. Not putting the knife and fork together after finishing your plate of food
  25. Someone ordering really stinky cheese
  26. Taking a long time to eat
  27. Mixing ketchup and mayo together
  28. Eating just the pizza and leaving the crusts
  29. Using a knife and fork to eat pizza
  30. Ordering a well-done steak

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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1 Comment

  1. BP says:

    >> The stats emerged in a study commissioned by Domino’s to mark its partnership with Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

    Pretty much the main point – all we need to know.