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NYC Restaurant Survey Pet Peeves and Dining Stats

By James Mulcahy
October 4, 2013

Our just-released 2014 New York City Restaurants Survey didn't only highlight the best and brightest of the food scene, it also revealed some interesting statistics about the city's dining habits. And there was a lot of data to dig through, as New Yorkers report eating 58% of their meals in restaurants or via take out. That left a lot of numbers to fill up on (and some things to complain about). Check out some stats and gripes from this year's survey in the slideshow below.

  • Noise is The Biggest Bummer...

    It's official, New York restaurants will have to start giving out ear plugs to keep diners in the seat. Noise was by far the number-one complaint, with 30% of surveyors saying it's the thing that irritates them the most (and a full 72% said they actively avoid eateries that are too loud).

  • ...But Service Is a Close Second

    Once all of the "what did you say?!" shouts died down, the main gripes voiced by diners focused on the service. See the breakdown below:

    Inattentive staff: 17%
    Slow service: 14%
    Rude staff: 12%
    Plates being cleared before the table is finished: 11%

    Servers, if you're reading this and think you should move faster to please those patrons, be wary! Another 8% said that rushed service was their primary complaint. Hitting that sweet spot is clearly trickier than it seems.

  • No Reservations and Splitting the Check

    NYC dwellers are used to no-reservations restaurants, with 43% reporting that they will wait up to 30 minutes for a table. That seems to be the cutoff though, as only 7% say that they want to hang around for the extra 15 minutes. On the flip side of the meal, when the check drops, most people report splitting it down the middle. 82% say that they prefer the even split, with 10% saying that they break it down by what individuals order and the other 8% ask for separate checks.

  • Photos Are Ok, Texting - Not So Much

    Say cheese! It turns out that all of that photo taking in restaurants (and subsequent social media updating) is fine as long as it happens in moderation, as per 58% of our surveyors. Though be careful, 11% say it's rude and inappropriate, so you don't want to start snapping when you're at the table with them. Speaking of things not to do, keep that phone hidden - 54% say it's rude and inappropriate to text, Tweet, email or talk on your phone during the meal. So save those pics for a #latergram.

  • Photo by: Gabi Porter

    The Diversification of NYC Dining

    Though you'll see many French, Italian and American restaurants on the top lists throughout our survey, the total number of them is actually declining, dropping 2% over the past 10 years. It's been a decade of diversification, according to the survey stats. The number of Asian, Mexican and Middle Eastern restaurants have shown a combined growth rate of 22% during that period. Tacos, anyone?

  • Online Reservations Rule

    A majority of NYC diners have stopped ringing the reservationist when it comes time to book a table, with 56% reporting that they make their reservations online. But the smart phone has yet to dominate when it comes to bookings - 30% still use their desktop versus the 16% who book on a mobile app, and 10% on a tablet or iPad.

  • Openings vs. Closings

    Based on our stats that track the openings and closings of eateries across the city, the dining scene has made a big recovery, moving nearly full-steam-ahead after a shaky few years post recession. The survey covered 111 newcomers and reported 42 big closings.

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