News for the Hospitality Executive
America's Top Barbeque, Burger and Pizza Restaurants According
to Zagat's 2010 America's Top Restaurants Survey
NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2009 - The results of Zagat's 2010 America's Top Restaurants survey were released today on ZAGAT.com, covering thousands of eateries across 45 U.S. markets. In the survey, over 145,000 diners shared their opinions about dining, especially on how the past year's economy affected the restaurant industry.
Hard Times: This year, the national percentage of meals eaten out or taken out declined from 50% to 48%, and the national average of restaurant meals per week dropped from 3.3 to 3.2. These losses are magnified by sobering changes in surveyors' dining habits - 43% say they're eating out less, 41% are more price-sensitive, and 36% are eating in less pricey places. As 22% are skipping appetizers and/or desserts, 19% are cutting back on alcohol. Meanwhile to save money, 10% go to expensive places for lunch in lieu of dinner, and 7% are simply less likely to try new places. A stolid 26% say the economy has had no affect on their dining habits, while 44% are cooking more and enjoying it.
Good Times: In spite of the year's economic woes, surveyors are finding some reasons to smile. Overall, there were more good new restaurant openings than closings. Over the past year, 54% of surveyors nationwide say they are finding better deals at restaurants, 40% feel their patronage is more appreciated, 31% are finding it easier to get reservations and 22% of surveyors feel that service has improved. When they do dine out, 20% of surveyors are making online reservations, up from only 8% less than five years ago. In a nod to their health, another 20% say they are eating healthier. However, service is still a problem for the industry, with 68% naming it the top complaint. Overall, surveyors report that they are taking advantage of dining deals, e.g., 62% in San Francisco, 71% in New York, and 75%% in Los Angeles.
"There's no doubt that the recession has seriously affected diners' habits across America," said Tim Zagat, CEO and Co-Founder of Zagat Survey. "Yet all our surveys highlight how the industry is adapting to the needs of the diners, offering better value, service and bargains for the wallet-weary. It may take time, but we are convinced that the industry will weather the storm and emerge stronger."
Bargain Hunting: This year, many premier chefs are launching
bargain spinoffs. In Atlanta, the owners' of Bacchanalia (Top Food winner)
have opened Abattoir. In San Antonio and Charlotte, the chefs of Top Food
winners Le Reve and Barrington's have respectively opened wallet-friendly
Italian Il Sogno and New American Good Food on Montford. Likewise, New
York's Daniel Boulud has opened DBGB and San Francisco's Perbacco is about
to open Barbacco. In addition to the many recession-friendly openings this
year, prix-fixe menus and extended Restaurant Week deals have allowed diners
to enjoy fine dining affordably.
Cuisines: Surveyors say Italian is their favorite cuisine, with 27% of the nationwide vote. American food came in second with 16% of the votes, followed by Japanese and French (11% each), Mexican (10%) and Thai (8%). Not only is Italian the favorite, but it's also among the best; an Italian restaurant appears in the Top 5 food rankings in over 50% of the markets covered in this guide. Also, Italian food is eaten more often than any other national cuisine, with variations of American coming in second.
To Your Health: Green dining has been on diners' radars for some time now, but even in the poor economy, 61% of surveyors around the country are willing to pay more for "green" products and menu items, up about 5% from last year. When it comes to their health, 69% consider low-carb, low-fat, heart-healthy menu items to be important, while 65% say trans fats should be banned from restaurants.
Fare-ing Well: As reflected on ZAGAT.com, the following are cuisine
winners in their respective markets:
The Survey in Detail: Ratings and reviews of America's Top Restaurants are available in a full range of formats: ZAGAT.com, ZAGAT.mobi (for web-enabled mobile devices), ZAGAT TO GO for iPhone and smartphones and ZAGAT nru for Android. The 2010 America's Top Restaurants guidebook ($15.95) was edited by Bill Corsello and is on sale at all major bookstores or online at ZAGAT.com. For information about the survey and to find additional statistics, please visit http://www.zagat.com/presscenter. And remember to connect with Zagat via Facebook and Twitter!
About Zagat Survey, LLC
Zagat Survey, LLC
|Also See:||Need to Know Revelations from Zagat's 2009 U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas Survey / November 2008|