In honor of one of the most high-stakes dining days of the year, we surveyed 2,000 people across the U.S. about how they celebrate Valentine’s Day — and how far they’re willing to stray from their usual diets, budgets, and traditional dating rules. The results? We found that many Americans look at Valentine’s Day as basically a 24-hour hall pass.
“In spite of the rules and resolutions we often set for ourselves, especially at the start of a new year, we found that many Americans would be willing to give themselves license to let go and enjoy the holiday without restraint,” said Caroline Potter, Chief Dining Officer at OpenTable. “More than a celebration of love, Valentine’s Day will serve as a reprieve from the daily grind, a day to gather around the table and treat ourselves as well as loved ones.”
New year, new you… until V-Day. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans (87%) say it’s ok to cheat on their diet when dining out on Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, people who are currently in a romantic relationship are more likely to approve of breaking their diet than those who are single (90% vs. 79%).
Money ain’t a thing. Additionally, 44% of Americans say they would splurge and order pricier items off the menu on V-Day than they usually would. Men are more likely than women to go for the decadent dishes (55% vs 34%). As for singles (who are likely footing their own bill) they will be watching their wallets more closely. Only 32% saying they would order a more expensive menu item than usual for Valentine’s Day, compared to nearly half of their coupled counterparts (49%).
Hey, I just met you, but will you be my Valentine? Half of Americans (50%) think it’s fine to dine out with a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day after less than a month of dating, with a surprising one in five (20%) saying it is acceptable as a first date.
No phones allowed, unless for a selfie or squad pic. More than half of respondents (55%) say it’s never acceptable to use a mobile phone for any reason during a Valentine’s Day meal. However, nearly one in three (32%) are willing to bend the rules for selfies or group photos. Millennials (age 18-34) follow their own rules, with 71% saying it is ok to use a mobile phone for any reason during a Valentine’s Day meal.
Bad romance. More than nine in 10 Americans believe there are surefire ways to boost (93%) or bust (95%) the mood during a Valentine’s Day meal. 62% say arriving early with flowers or a gift is a definite win (women approve more strongly than men, with 67% vs. 57%). When it comes to top mood killers, using a mobile phone too much (78%), being rude to restaurant staff (76%), mentioning an ex (68%), poor table manners (68%), and discussing politics (42%) take the proverbial cake.
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of OpenTable from December 13, 2016 to December 15, 2016 among 2,058 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.