The Hot Dinners Eating Out Survey for London 2013

Back at the beginning of the year, we asked Hot Dinners readers to tell us about their eating out habits and over 1600 of you were good enough to do just that. The results, as we reveal below, make for fascinating reading.

Recession – what recession?

66% eat out at least once a week66% of you go out to eat once a week or more.
45% said the amount you eat out hasn’t changed from a year ago.
28% admitted you now eat out more than you did a year ago.

The average spend for a meal out with wine is between £20 and £39 per head, although 39% spend upwards of £40 a head when you go out. When asked what was the most you'd ever spend on a meal out – a third of you said you'd spent over £200 a head on a special meal. The most cited restaurants for a blowout were:
1. The Fat Duck
2. Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
3. Gordon Ramsay Restaurant at Royal Hospital Road.

Does Michelin still make a difference?

83% influenced by friendsAlthough a Michelin star still has the greatest impact – with 68% of readers saying they were more likely to choose a restaurant which had one or more stars – the relatively new World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (launched in 2002) has grown in importance with 66% saying a restaurant’s position on that list would influence your decision to book. But by far the biggest influence came from recommendations from people you knew – 83% of you say that you take friends’ opinions into account when choosing where to eat. And a further 70% of you said you were influenced by what restaurant critics thought.

Which critics count?

1. Jay Rayner, 2. Giles Cren, 3. MArina O'LoughlinOn the critic front – the Guardian group proved to be the media organisation with the greatest influence with their writers Jay Rayner (Observer) and Marina O’Loughlin 1st and 3rd respectively in the list of critics whom readers said they were influenced by.

The Top 10 list goes as follows:

  • Jay Rayner (Observer)
  • Giles Coren (The Times)
  • Marina O'Loughlin (Guardian)
  • Fay Maschler (Evening Standard)
  • AA Gill (Sunday Times)
  • Guy Dimond (Time Out)
  • Matthew Norman (Telegraph)
  • Chris Pople (cheesenbiscuits.blogspot.com)
  • Tracy Macleod (Independent)
  • Richard Vines (Bloomberg)

Food, service and the no-bookings thing

51% avoid no-bookings restaurantsGiven the rising emphasis on great service in London, it’s perhaps surprising that 9 out of 10 readers picked food over service as the most important factor when deciding to return to a restaurant.

As for going the first time, the trend for no-bookings isn't too popular – 51% of you said you were put off going to a restaurant with a no-bookings policy.

Dude food RIP, but street food still kicks ass

78% rate street food as HOTAsked what you thought of current London food trends, you gave street food the thumbs up with 78% rating it as a ‘hot right now’ trend. Sadly dude food – the name given to the rise of hot dogs, tacos, fried chicken and more seems to be over with 55% saying it had run its course.

Luckily for MEATmission, Byron and others, burgers continues to be a trend with 61% believing there’s still life left in it.

Best meal of the last 12 months?

1. Hawksmoor, 2. Dabbous, 3. LedburyLondon steakhouse Hawksmoor topped our readers’ list of the best meal you'd had in the last year. It may be one of the hardest restaurants to book in London but it’s obviously worth the wait as Dabbous makes it into second place with Notting Hill’s The Ledbury coming third. 

The full top ten is:

  1. Hawksmoor
  2. Dabbous
  3. The Ledbury
  4. Dinner by Heston
  5. Pollen Street Social
  6. Burger & Lobster
  7. Duck & Waffle
  8. Le Gavroche
  9. Pitt Cue Co
  10. Alyn Wiliams at the Westbury


Facts and figures: The 2013 Hot Dinners Eating Out Survey for London was open to all Hot Dinners users. It was conducted between 7 Jan and 7 February 2013, and was completed by 1672 people.