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Foodies are scoring their tables online and love their Brussels sprouts

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Dining went digital in 2014, which makes sense given that the biggest source of dining complaints were service-related.

These are the findings of a Zagat poll of its foodie network, with 10,727 of them sharing their eating habits and what can ruin their night out. And they have some practice: O n average, they eat 4.5 meals a week at a restaurant. The highest proportion is in Atlanta (5.2) followed by Austin, L.A. and Miami (4.9); the most diligent home cooks are in Portland, Minneapolis (3.4) and Philadelphia (3.7).

Here’s what they love, and love to hate, about going out.

Trends: We’ve come around the Brussels sprouts – the buzzy veggie has 45% support among diners, nearly double that of kale (27%) and bacon (28%). Beets are also still hot, with 38% still loving it.


Check, please: The per-person cost for dinner at a restaurant is $39.40 on average – but not for New Yorkers, who cough up a national high of $48.15. Next are Boston ($42.24) and Miami ($41.35). The least expensive cities were in the South and West: Austin ($25.81), Dallas/Ft. Worth ($30.34), San Diego ($34.10) and Portland ($34.36).

Tipping: When dining out, customers leave a 19.3% tip on average. Austin, where meals are the cheapest of the cities surveyed, were the most generous at 20 percent, followed by Philadelphia (19.8%), Boston (19.6%), Chicago (19.6%) and Atlanta (19.5%). Go out West and the average falls, with Portland (18.3%), Houston (18.4%), San Diego (18.5%), Seattle (18.6%) and San Francisco (18.7%) at the bottom.

16% admit to having stole something, from utensils to salt shakers

Complaints: The level of service is the most common complaint by diners, specifically: inattentive waitstaff (24%), slow service (17%), rudeness (10%) and inadequate training (9%). After service, complaints focused on noise, prices, crowds, quality of the food and parking.

Reservations: Diners expect to be able to reserve their table online, with 61% saying they’d used the Internet to get a table; Washington, D.C., and, interestingly, Minneapolis had the most tech-savvy diners with 76%.

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