"Restaurant customers' word-of-mouth communication patterns: When restaurant food service goes awry, one might expect the unsatisfied guest to go out and complain to her friends. In fact, word-of-mouth patterns–good or bad–are more complicated than that.
…Regardless of whether they felt that their experience was positive or negative, customers who indicated that they did not intend to return to the restaurant engaged in more word-of-mouth communication on average than did those who would return. Indeed, those who permanently walked despite a positive experience and high correction were the most talkative of this group, telling an average of 12.32 people (with a median of 4). Respondents who reported low correction but had a positive experience anyway told an average of 7.79 people.
In sum, there is more to word-of-mouth communication regarding service experiences than just the customers' satisfaction with the remedy. While customer satisfaction plays a large role in word-of-mouth communication, it's clear that the number of people whom a customer tells about a service failure and associated remedy depends in large part on the type of complaint, the degree of correction offered, the customer's perception of the complaint's resolution, and whether the customer is planning to visit the restaurant again in the future."
source: "I told you so! (Restaurant Management)" by Alex M. Susskind (Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Apr.2002) via AllBusiness.com (free reg. required)
WaiterBell Angle: A lot of customer statistics are used, however it is often difficult to find the source or research from which it originated. This research provides the statistical proof specifically regarding restaurants and word-of-mouth. The above excerpts only give a glimpse of the full paper, which is 10 pages.
The article talks about how preventing negative word of mouth is not simply giving a free appetizer coupon to a dissatisfied customer. Susskind provides insight into how restaurant customers communicate to others about their dining experience after a service failure. When you compound this with the increasing tendency for customers to post experiences on the internet, the numbers could be theoretically much higher.
WaiterBell gives you the opportunity for service recovery. It empowers the guest to let your waitstaff know that they need assistance. When that assistance is given in a timely and satisfactory manner the dining experience is more enjoyable, and your customers will let others know about it.