the great service vs great product conundrum

During the half-term week, my family and I made what has become our annual pilgrimage down to St Ives in Cornwall. 

A lovely little place with amazing beaches for the kids to mess around on, it's somewhere we find hard to keep away from. Even the double whammy of 5am start and 3.5 hour journey doesn't seem to put us off.

One thing I particularly like about the place is the relative lack of big brand presence on the cobbled streets. The large chains are conspicuous in their absence, with Pizza Express being the only culinary exception. No Burger King, no McDonald's and no white bearded colonel to be seen anywhere.

This creates a massive opportunity for many smaller, independent restaurants to try and grab a piece of the action. Their main selling points become the quality of the food, quality of the produce - usually local - and quality of the service. For a restaurant, they are perhaps the holy grail ingredients for success.

The ideal for any restaurant visit is to have amazing food delivered with amazing customer service, creating the whole experience you are happy to share.

But which of the three, if any, would you be happy to sacrifice in order to repeat purchase?

Would you put up with a dodgy meal as long as the service was out of this world?  Or would you be happy with average customer service as long as the local food was to die for?

Personally, I'm far more likely to return to a restaurant with first-rate food and second class service than the other way around. When you're going somewhere to be fed, great food delivered late far outweighs poor food arriving on time.

Maybe it's just me but I can make some pretty good comparison with public transport when it comes to delivering what you're supposed to.

A bus arriving on time far outweighs... lots of things.