How Do Your Habits Compare? – The Results of TheTaste’s Dining Out Survey 2018

Here at TheTaste, we pride ourselves on knowing the likes and dislikes of our readers, especially when it comes to dining out.

Last month, we asked you, our readers, to give us your opinions about all things food and restaurant related, from tipping and customer service to providing feedback.

We divided the survey into categories covering all aspects of dining out and while some results might surprise you, others will have you nodding in agreement.

Restaurants

Just over 60% of people tip when eating out, with the majority tipping 10%. Even though the majority of people tip, a staggering 91% are against automatic service charges being added to their bill.

The main reasons for this would be that a gratuity should be at the discretion of the diner (38%) or that sometimes the service is not deserving of a tip (25%), or that the diner wants to decide which percentage tip to give (21%).

In terms of not tipping, the most common reason is due to rude staff (58%), with poor quality food (19%) and slow service (14%) following. On the other hand, less than 1% of people never tip, while just over 7% believe that staff should be paid sufficient wages so that tipping should be unnecessary.

With regard to tipping, 33% feel obliged to leave a tip, 24% don’t feel obliged to tip, while 42% sometimes feel obliged to tip.

90% of participants believe that restaurants should share 100% of tips with service staff. But if you’re tipping your personal server, 92% prefer to tip in cash in order to ensure their server directly benefits from the tip.

On average, Taste readers eat out between 1-3 times a month (44%) or 4-6 times a month (37%). Just over 13% of survey participants eat out 6-10 times a month.

It’s no surprise that Friday (27%) and Saturday (42%) are the most popular nights for dining out, with less than 1% of participants choosing Monday as their most likely night out.

Once you have the day planned, the next question is often budget. The majority of participants spend between €51-€80 (38%) on a dinner for two or €81-€100 (31%).

17% will spend between €20-€50 and 12% spend €101-€150 on a meal out. Only 1% of participants admit to spending over €150 on a dinner for two in a restaurant.

Despite the amount of money spent on a night out, over half of people believe they get good value for money when dining out locally (54%), while 39% feel that this is sometimes true.

Dining Out Survey

For the most part, restaurant menus are not a source of confusion, with only 2% of people admitting to struggling with menus on a regular basis. 18% of people sometimes gets confused by elaborate offerings on menus, but the majority (80%) have no issues.

Choosing wine in a restaurant can be a blissfully pleasant experience or it can sometimes send shivers of fear down the spine. You want to be sure you’re picking a wine that will perfectly pair with your dish, but will also be something you are happy to drink.

With this in mind, we asked readers if they seek assistance when persusing a wine list, especially if more information may be required.

Less than 10% of people often ask their server for assistance, while 59% sometimes seek out the advice of waiters and sommeliers. 32% are more than confident selecting a wine without any help.

Of those who don’t ask for recommendations, the most popular reason is a preference of selecting a wine they know they will like (25%), while others make their decision based on price (12%).

Interestingly, 2% of participants don’t ask for recommendations because they don’t want to bother the staff, while just 1% want the staff to think they are knowledgable about wine.

Dining Out Survey

64% of people feel comfortable complaining about food at a retaurant. For the 36% who feel uncomfortable doing so, they state their reasons as feeling awkward doing so (21%), or preferring to speak with their feet and not returning again in future (13%).

While other reasons included thinking it wouldn’t make a difference and preferring to leave their personal reviews online, less than 1% say they wouldn’t complain because they believe it is rude to do so.

Whoever said the Irish were awkward with complaints was wrong as 76% of participants said that they have returned dishes to the kitchen if they were unhapy with the quality of food placed in front of them.

However, despite this, 61% admitted to never leaving a bad review online following a negative experience at a restaurant. Over 93% read restaurant reviews, with 47% saying reviews influence where they dine.

Only 6% of people don’t let reviews positive or negative, affect their dining choices, however 62% of people admit that a negative review will change their decision to eat in a restaurant.

Eating out is a social experience, so it’s no surprise that parents want to bring their children out for a treat every now and again. Now, while many kids are well behaved in this kind of environment, things can sometimes go wrong and the presence of children may deter potential customers.

Our participants were asked about children in restaurants and the results weren’t all that surprising. 59% of people believe that whether children under the age of 12 should be permitted completely depends on the type of restaurant, while 22% believe children under 12 should only be allowed until 7pm.

When it comes to fine dining restaurants, the majority (36%) believe that it once again, depends on the restaurant while 35% state that kids should only be permitted until 7pm. Only 5% of respondents would approve of children in fine dining restaurants at all times.

Despite not minding if children are present in a restaurant, an overwhelming 74% of people believe that parents should leave a restaurant if their child is crying continuously and disturbing other patrons.

79% believe that there should be specific ‘child-friendly’ restaurants in Ireland, but at the end of the day, the majority of people (75%) don’t go out of their way to choose a restaurant that doesn’t permit children at night.

Thankfully, 97% of people have never brought their own condiment to a restaurant, putting their ketchup trusts in the staff.

Finally, looking at you, our readers who completed the survey. More than half of you are from Dublin (55%), with the other 54% being spread throughout the rest of the country.

80% of participants were female and more than half of those who completed the survey were from Dublin (55%), with the other 54% being spread throughout the rest of the country.

In terms of age, 41% were aged between 41 and 60, 30% were in the 31-40 range, while 14% were aged between 26 and 30.

FEATURE BY SARAH GLASCOTT

Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.

A big people person, especially when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, Sarah loves interviewing chefs, food producers and more.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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