Research has found 44 per cent of customers would turn away from a business if faced with a food hygiene rating of three stars or fewer.
According to a report by insurance and investment company NFU Mutual, nearly half of the 2,016 adults surveyed would eat elsewhere if they saw a low hygiene rating.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that 17.53 per cent of pubs currently have a rating of three stars and below (January 2017).
Overall 82 per cent of the hospitality industry boasts a rating of "good" (four stars) or "very good" (five stars).
Following a scheme in Wales, where operators are legally required to display food hygiene ratings on the door, NFU Mutual is advising businesses to get on top of hygiene plans in case legislation is introduced here.
It said that the FSA has “favoured” extending the mandatory display legislation to England.
Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist said: “It’s fantastic to see that over 82 per cent of all hospitality-sector food outlets in England have a rating of good or very good and the industry as a whole is taking real pride in food hygiene, but imminent compulsory displays are destined to be a game changer for those businesses struggling to reach the top grades.
“In advance of legislation changes all business owners should prioritise their food hygiene plans.”
The NFU Mutual Food Hygiene Ratings Report is available for operators to download today.