Restaurant patrons understood the assignment.
Data from restaurant tech leader OpenTable — the online restaurant reservation service — show that despite inflation, people are spending at high-end restaurants and tipping generously.
Given the number of restaurants in recovery mode following two years of pandemic closures, this is good news.
Diner demand was strong over the summer and is continuing into the fall.
According to OpenTable, the number of seated diners from online, walk-in and phone reservations at restaurants from July 1 to Oct. 25 was up 21% on average compared to the same period in 2019.
Whether that will continue in the fall and winter (and over the holiday season) is the question, particularly as restaurants are still in recovery mode. Fortunately, there are some positive trends to report — their poll shows a 38% increase in seated diners at high price-point restaurants ($65 or more per person, on average) between July 1 and Sept. 19 compared to the same period in 2021.
More than half (57%) of Canadian diners know food prices have increased and are willing to pay more when dining out.
About 71% of Canadian diners leave at least a 15% tip, while another 14% leave more than a 20% tip; 43% plan to leave bigger tips to show support for hard work during tough financial times.
Here in Canada, dining in continues even though the weather is cooler and open-air tables have vanished with the warm summer weather.
Matt Davis, OpenTable Canada, said things are still a bit uncertain for restaurants, given the state of the economy and the pressure on consumer spending.
“With this in mind, we are focused on delivering the tools restaurants need to help maximize efficiencies, drive smoother operations and help to fill empty seats,” he said.
Diners can do their part, added Davis, by telling restaurants beforehand when they can’t make their reservation and doing delivery or takeout when they can’t dine-in.
And he suggests people think ahead for the Christmas season, “planning their holiday celebrations in private dining rooms at their favourite local spots.”