We all know that cupid has his bow and arrow ready for February 14, but restaurants are also scrambling to prepare for Valentine's Day, which is one of the biggest nights of the year for dining out. To mark the holiday, we put together our first ever Valentine's Day Dining Survey, which confirmed that it will be a busy night on the town -- 44 percent of surveyors said they plan to eat out, while only 35 percent will celebrate at home with their honey.
Restaurants are excited because lovey-dovey patrons are ready to drop big bucks for their V-Day dinners -- on average, the diners surveyed plan to spend $147 on their romantic meal. Compare that with $43.46, which is the average cost of a meal in New York according to our 2012 New York City Restaurants Survey, adding up to $86.92 per couple. Based on the spending increase, people are truly treating this as a special occasion, even if the economy is still on shaky ground (oh, and don't forget the average of $88 that people plan to spend on gifts, cha-ching)!
So, how do people pick an appropriate venue? It turns out that white tablecloths and flickering candles aren't as important as solid grub -- while 29 percent of respondents said it is the setting that draws them in, 48 percent make their reservations based on the food and menu. And, about those reservations -- sounds like lovers are also procrastinators! Forty-seven percent of respondents said that they haven't decided where to eat yet, and only 17 percent say that they make their rezzie a month in advance. Stay tuned for our handy dining guides so you can get your butt in gear!
This week, we'll be looking at some tales of romance and disaster. For now, here are some more stats to keep you entertained -- we suggest checking them out while munching on some candy hearts.
-Forget about going dutch! Only 11 percentof V-day diners plan to split the check. Sounds like there are still some old-fashioned traditions out there.
-It's no wonder those tabs are so expensive. Forty-five percent of survey respondents say they splurge on a nice bottle of wine during dinner.
-The folks who took the survey better be doing something nice -- 83 percent of them are married or in a relationship. Also, they know a thing or two about dining, as the average number of meals out per week for our surveyors was 2.5.
Also see: 25 Best Bets for Valentine's Day in LA