Zagat survey reveals the biggest tippers and spenders in US dining

New York and Boston have emerged the most expensive dining cities in the US in a new survey. ― AFP pic
New York and Boston have emerged the most expensive dining cities in the US in a new survey. ― AFP pic

NEW YORK, Jan 13 ― The results of Zagat's latest National Dining Trends survey for the US sheds light on the country's most generous tippers, most expensive dining cities and the biggest deal breakers that put off diners today.

For the survey, the burgundy guide asked 13,000 diners about everything from their spending habits to social media influences and dining do's and don'ts.

Here are a few highlights:

Nation's biggest tippers

That distinction goes to Philadelphians, who tip an average of 20 per cent, compared to the national average of 18 per cent. Diners in Denver and Washington DC trail not far behind, at 19 per cent. The trend to eliminate the practice of tipping, meanwhile, has the support of 43 per cent of the country's diners, while 33 per cent are against the idea.

The power of Instagram and Facebook

If you've ever booked a restaurant after seeing photos of a seductive dish on a friend's Facebook page or Instagram, you're part of the 75 per cent of food voyeurs in the Zagat survey who regularly do the same. The impact of mobile devices and social media on our dining experiences cannot be overstated: Nearly half (49 per cent) of respondents admitted to stopping their dining companions from eating so they could snap photos for their social media account.

Dining out

On average, Americans typically dine out about 6 times a week. That figure rises to 7 times a week for diners in Dallas-Fort Worth, followed by Orlando and Houston which trail not far behind. The city that dines out the least? Minneapolis, where the average is less than five times a week.

Biggest spenders

The most expensive city for dining in the US? That would be New York, where locals spend an average of US$46.14 (RM183.27) per person at a restaurant, followed by Boston, where the average restaurant meal clocks in at US$41.54. The national average is US$36.40.

Dining pet peeves

As for the biggest dining turn-offs, that would be noise (the biggest grievance among nearly a quarter of respondents), followed by poor service (23 per cent), crowds (15 per cent), high prices (12 per cent) and parking (10 per cent). Restaurateurs take note: Diners are likewise not fond of backless chairs and stools. Other deal breakers include cash-only policies, communal tables, no-substitution policies and reservation-only policies.

Food and travel

More than half (56 per cent) said they've been known to eat multiple meals during a trip to squeeze in all the locale's must-try dishes. A similar per centage have also said they would travel up to 30 minutes for the prospect of a good meal, while 20 per cent said they'd be willing to travel a few hours and 13 per cent said they'd hop on a plane. The most committed foodies ― those willing to travel a few hours ― hail from Orlando, Chicago and Nashville. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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