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Dining Trends in New Jersey and Nationwide [AUDIO]

Everyone has a favorite place to eat and a new Zagat survey looks at some of the trends of diners across the country.


The report, titled “Dining Trends Survey: Tipping, Pet Peeves, and More,” looks at some of the habits we as restaurant goers have across the country.

It polled people at 10 major locations nationwide, finding the average respondent went out to eat 4.4 times a week. While major cities like New York and Los Angeles had predictably high rates of eating out (4.9 and 4.8 respectively), Houston actually took the top spot with 5.5 meals a week eaten out.

Part of that can be attributed towards cost, since the survey found in Houston dinner per person will only cost $35.57, below the national average of $40.53, and far below places like New York, where dinner runs $48.50 a head.

In New Jersey, that number is significantly lower. Garden State residents average only two meals eaten out per week.

While noise level was the top pet peeve of diners nationally, in New Jersey, patrons cared more about quality of service than anything else.

Not surprisingly, the survey found Italian food to be New Jersey’s favorite cuisine.

One of the biggest changing trends that managing editor Chris Walsh is seeing is a shift towards the internet and social media being used by the diners. He notes already over half of diners make reservations only, as opposed to calling them in.

The acceptance of technology does not end at booking at table, even some smart phone use is becoming tolerated.

“Fifty-six percent of the people nationally are okay with people taking out their phone and snapping a photo of a dish and then posting it on social media,” said Walsh.

However, Walsh is quick to point out, the key with smartphone use at the table is moderation.

“So if someone is tweeting, talking, texting, or e-mailing on their phone at the table, 57 percent of people say that’s not appropriate and actually rude,” he explained.

The survey also addresses the age old question of tipping. Nationally, diners leave 19 percent on their check, however, there is some variance from coast to coast.

“What we found was people on the west coast typically tip a little bit less than people on the east coast.”

Colorado had the most generous tippers, leaving 19.6 percent.

When it comes to splitting the bill, the survey found Southern diners were more likely to ask for separate checks, while east coast diners were more likely to split the check evenly.

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