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Consumer Trends

Couples expect more from restaurants on ‘Date Night’

There’s been a shift in what diners want in a romantic restaurant dinner, according to SevenRooms’ “Date Night Diner Report.”
Date Night at restaurant
Couples expect a lot more from restaurants on 'date night' these days, according to a SevenRooms survey. / Photograph: Shutterstock

There are several dealbreakers that can sway couples to choose one restaurant over another for “date night” dinners post-pandemic.

So finds a new “Date Night Diner Report” released Thursday from SevenRooms, the digital guest experience and retention platform.

Couples still gravitate to weekends over weeknights for a dinner date, with preference evenly divided between Friday night (26%) and Saturday (26%.)

But customers expect more out of a date night dinner these days. Diners are quick to abandon a favorite restaurant if the experience is subpar.

According to the daters surveyed, 45% would not go back if their meals arrived at different times (more than 10 to 15 minutes apart) and 43% feel it’s a turnoff if the restaurant was louder than expected and they couldn’t have a conversation.

And many customers have no sympathy for supply chain shortages, despite what they know from the news. If the restaurant was sold out of specific menu items they were looking forward to eating, 31% would not return.

When it comes to the restaurant they choose for a date night, nearly half (46%) say they usually book a restaurant they’ve visited before but could be convinced to go to a new restaurant. Rather than splurge on a romantic upscale dinner-for-two, over half (54%) typically book a casual meal where they can stay and talk at the table following their dinner.

A restaurant’s hospitality efforts can also make or break the night. Couples want to feel welcome and the survey revealed three amenities or experiences operators can provide to help diners feel that way:

• 33% would like a complimentary dessert or cocktail on a date night

• 24% are into earning extra rewards during the meal, including loyalty rewards, credit card points or exclusive offers

• 23% want an incentive to return for another date, such as dinner discounts or exclusive date night menus

Couples also crave personalization. They’re pleased when a server or team member knows their name from a previous visit or is aware of their dietary preferences. In fact, 33% say that personalized dining matters more to them than getting their food quickly or having a varied menu, and 43% would be impressed if their date booked a personalized restaurant experience for them.

“A resurgence of the American date night is here, and these date night diners are flipping the script on what that experience should look and feel like,” Allison Page, co-founder & chief product officer at SevenRooms said in a statement. “Our research reveals that diners value experiences, additional perks and service points at higher levels than ever before. To provide these experiences, restaurant operators should look to incorporate technology solutions that provide them with the data and information to tailor experiences to each guest’s specific preferences.”

SevenRooms commissioned independent third-party research firm YouGovto poll the views of 1,153 individuals, of whom 763 go on dates and agreed to take part in the survey on July 25-26. The “Date Night Diner Report” also includes some data from SevenRooms’ platform and nationwide customers.  

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