Valentine’s Day by the Numbers

OpenTable’s recent survey shows when you’re celebrating the holiday of love, how much you’re paying, and what not to do at the table


With Valentine’s Day just 10 days away, it’s time to finalize your plans. If that means making reservations for you and your girlfriends, your buddies, your wife, fiancée, or whoever is in your life, time is running out.

Before you call the restaurant or head to OpenTable to do it online, take a second to check out the results of their recent survey on the love-filled holiday. According to the reservation site, restaurants are piqued to not only be packed on Feb. 14, but the weekend days following.

"The idea of a romantic Valentine's Day meal often conjures up images of lavish tasting menus, enchanting small plates, and prix fixe menus," said Caroline Potter, chief dining officer of OpenTable. "However, our survey revealed some surprising insights into how people want to celebrate Valentine's Day and an indication of romantic trends to come. Diners prefer à la carte ordering in a classic three-course meal where they can personalize their experience."

See what else diners had to say in regards to their plans for the big day:

Long Weekend of Love

• 51 percent of respondents said they plan to dine out on Thursday, Feb. 14, while 36 percent said they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day on Friday, Feb. 15, or Saturday, Feb. 16.

• 5 percent of diners said they plan to celebrate on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

• 8 percent of respondents plan on dining out more than once for Valentine's Day.

Positive Reviews and Ambience Matter Most

• Respondents indicated that the top three factors in selecting a restaurant for Valentine's Day are positive reviews (34 percent), romantic ambience (27 percent), and service (16 percent).

• Less important attributes included restaurant location (14 percent), special Valentine's Day menus (8 percent), and the quality of the wine list (1 percent).

Most Desirable Menus
• When presented with menu options, diners said they prefer à la carte (67 percent) over prix fixe (33 percent) menus.

• Traditional menus came out on top, with the majority of diners (56 percent) saying they would select a classic three-course meal (starter, entrée, and dessert).

• Others preferred sharing several small plates (23 percent), feasting only on entrées (13 percent), or enjoying an extensive menu (8 percent).

Romance and Restaurants Go Hand in Hand

• 21 percent of diners said they would go on a first date on Valentine's Day, while 42 percent said that Valentine's Day dining is reserved for those dating for a month or two.

• 37 percent of respondents think that dining on the most romantic day of the year should be reserved for those who have been dating at least three months.

• 71 percent of diners said that only some PDA is appropriate on the most romantic day of the year, while 21 percent think Valentine's Day is all about the PDA. Still, 8 percent said that PDA in a restaurant is never appropriate.

Check, Please!

• Put your phone away! 56 percent of women and 61 percent of men say talking and texting at the table is the biggest dining faux pas a date can commit.

• Being rude to waitstaff was the second biggest no-no for 32 percent of women and 28 percent of men.


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