It's widely known that Australians hold a deep affection for dining out, however it may be surprising to learn that many have realised they were in love with their dining companion whilst eating out at a restaurant. OpenTable, the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations, has today released the findings from its Diner Dating Etiquette research which reveals that of the two thirds (65%) of Australian diners who've had a romantic dining experience, 43% came to the realisation they were in love whilst at a restaurant.
The research has also proven the age-old theory that a way to an admirers' heart is indeed through their stomach, with over seven million (46%) Australians confirming that a relationship has started with a date at a restaurant.
Tim Domelow, OpenTable's Senior Business Development Manager of APAC, said: "The culture of dining out in Australia has always been a fantastic way to make new memories with loved ones. Our research has uncovered that a significant number of the population, more than four million, have been struck by cupid, realising they were in love with their date whilst across the dining table.
At OpenTable, we are extremely proud of the fact that we're able to play a central role in helping millions of Australian diners find the perfect location for their first dates, offering an extensive range of restaurants on our platform so diners can find the right setting to make a perfect match. Whatever your preference for a romantic evening, with OpenTable's seamless booking system diners can customise their experience down to the type of cuisine, price point and even the area of the restaurant they prefer to sit in such as the bar, an outdoor area or a quiet booth."
With many memorable moments shared over the dining table, the Diner Dating Etiquette research has also turned the table on the biggest gripes diners have experienced whilst on a date, with three-quarters of Australians (75%) saying if someone asked them out on a dinner date, then requested that they split the bill, they would still go on a second date with that person, while one-in-ten (11%) said it would be a complete turn off!
With millions of Australians declaring that dining out at a restaurant is the preferred setting for a first date, it's interesting to learn opinions that represent best practice when it comes to splitting the bill:
● Women (51%) are more likely than men (26%) to think that the best practice when it comes to paying the bill on a first date is that it should be split equally
● Over a third (36%) of diners say the male should pay the bill, whilst one in five (19%) believe whoever arranged the date should foot the bill, regardless of gender
Some of the biggest turn offs when dining out for a romantic occasion include: regular use of mobile phones (46%), dining at noisy restaurants (31%) and drunken behaviour by fellow diners (15%).
The research also unearthed what Australians look for in an ideal venue for a first date; with great food and drinks (40%) coming top of the list, followed by a casual, quiet, intimate setting (30%) and an atmospheric, outgoing environment (11%).
Finding the right venue for the perfect first date or to tell someone you love them comes down to personal choice. For an extensive selection of venues across Australia, visit www.opentable.com.au to find the right dining option for every romantic occasion.
Question: What are some of the best dates you've hosted at the restaurant?
Stefano: In the first couple months of opening, we had a beautiful same-sex couple who were quickly becoming regulars, and coming in twice a week. Then, one day, out of the blue, he proposed at the bar, and celebrations were going all around! Hugs, tears and lots of champagne were flowing.
Question: And, what are some of the worst dates you've hosted at the restaurant?
Stefano: The worst one was quite funny really! A guy was on a blind date, or so he thought… I don't know how it happened, but when his actual date showed up, he was already kissing another girl (which HE thought was the original one). Talk about a surprise!
Question: What surprised you about the OpenTable Diner Dating Etiquette report?
Stefano: Men (37%) are more likely than women (24%) to look for a casual, quiet, intimate setting when picking a restaurant venue for a first date, while women are more likely to look for an atmospheric, outgoing environment (14% of men compared to 7% of women).
I find it peculiar, that girls want less of a quiet setting and basically a pumping restaurant. I would have assumed the contrary. Maybe the men want a quitter spot, so they can talk (we talk a lot these days) so they can actually woo (win her over) their date!
Question: How often do you find couples on their mobile phones, at dinner?
Stefano: All the time unfortunately, but this is our society these days and it doesn't look like it will change anytime soon....
Question: In your personal opinion, is chivalry dead?
Stefano: I don't think so, but I'm a stubborn Italian man, so I might not be the best person to answer that (laughs).
Question: What are some of the most common pet peeves we see on first dates, at restaurants?
Stefano: Talking about chivalry, I don't understand when the man doesn't pay the whole bill and when HE asks for a split bill on a first date. Also when the man doesn't help the lady sit down, and take her coat once they get in the restaurant. But hey! I guess I'm old school.
Question: Can you tell us about your first romantic dinner date with your long-term partner?
Madison Smith: I've been with my boyfriend, Tim for just over four years. We'd been really close friends for years, hung out all the time and ran in all the same circles. But were severely stuck in the friend-zone. In the back of mind, I liked him so much more than just friends, but little did I know he felt the exact same way. Within our friendship group it was pretty common knowledge that we really liked it each other, but at the same time everyone knew we were both too stubborn to make that first move. Eventually, I think my best friend grew tired of hearing the same old story, so she played match maker and forced him to make the first move and ask me out. For our first ever date, Tim took me took me to one of my favourite Japanese restaurants. I was an absolute ball of nerves beforehand. No joke, I think I'd been to this restaurant over a hundred times, so I knew that it's pretty low-lit, intimate venue. Looking back at it now, it was perfect choice. We'd been friends for so long and had gone out to dinner together casually with friends so many times before, the choice of a romantic setting really helped to set this a part as proper date, rather than dinner between friends.
Question: Why do you attribute the success of your relationship to this specific romantic dinner date?
Madison Smith: Our fist dinner date definitely played a huge role in the success of our relationship. I've been on some disaster dates in the past, where the guy wouldn't stop picking up and using his phone the whole evening, or another time when a guy asked me out to dinner, but didn't make a booking and it was Friday night, so we went from one place to another being turned away because they were fully booked. I really loved that Tim, put away his phone and gave me his total attention. Although we usually split the bill when we go out, on this occasion he paid and handled it really well so it wasn't awkward!
I think it also majorly came down the choice of restaurant itself. The food was amazing, and actually made us realise that we're both foodies and a have a shared passion that's been an ongoing theme throughout the rest of our relationship.
Question: Why do you think this specific occasion was "love at first bite"?
Madison Smith: As corny as it may sound, this particular occasion was a case of love at first bite. It was the first time we'd gone from hanging out as friends for so long, to doing something a bit more romantic. Looking back, even though it was so early on in our relationship, it's the first time I realised I was in love with him.
Question: Did you pick up the bill on your first dinner date?
Madison Smith: Tim paid the bill on our first date. I'm not a big believer that guy should foot the bill. However, I think on this particular occasion it made it feel more liked date, rather than dinner with a friend!
Interview by Brooke Hunter