"Dining Out More, For Less: Perhaps the most impressive finding from Texas-area Zagat surveyors is the fact that Texans in Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston dine out more frequently than denizens of any other major U.S. city — and by a large margin. Zagat Survey results show diners in Austin and Dallas/Ft. Worth average 4.0 meals out per week — 25% more than the national average of 3.2 meals per week — while diners in Houston (4.2 times per week) beat the national average by over 30%.
By comparison, Bostonians dine out a mere 2.7 times per week and New Yorkers 3.4 times per week. In addition, the average cost of a Texas meal is $28.67, well below the national average of $32.06. But when it comes to tipping, Texans are right on par — matching the national average of 18.7%.
Going the Distance: Texans enjoy dining out so much they're even willing to make the long haul for a good meal. Nearly thirty-percent of those surveyed said they would drive more than an hour each way for a good dinner. And more than fifty-percent would drive 45 minutes or more in each direction.
Service — The Weak Link: As with most American cities, an overwhelming percentage of Texans found poor service to be the most irritating factor in the local dining scene. Seventy-eight percent of all dining-related complaints were about service, compared to only 8% about noise and 4% about prices."
WaiterBell Angle: The Zagat Survey continues to show in city after city that poor service is the most memorable and irritating factor. Despite this feeling, diners continue to tip the national average (18.7%), which supports the idea that there is not a strong relationship between tips and quality of service. For restaurant owners and workers, this means that the tip may be the last money they would ever see of that customer, and never know it.
These survey results show that enhancing restaurant service through empowered dining is a real opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and a reputation for great service over other restaurants. In a competitive restaurant state such as Texas where the restaurants are plentiful and diners are willing to drive further for a good meal, implementing empowered dining through WaiterBell could make a huge sustained difference in the bottom line.