Before closing the menu on 2019, OpenTable today released a retrospective look back at this year’s most popular dining trends. From trending reviews to dining behavior across the country, this year’s diners are looking to have their cake and eat it too.
“We hit a major milestone this year – 10 billion diners seated, using our software. To put that in perspective, that’s more than the world’s population,” said Andrea Johnston, COO at OpenTable. “This year alone, we sat over 283 million diners who gave more than 13 million reviews. This uncovered a treasure trove of food trends and shifts in behavior to provide insightful context as to how people are eating in 2019.”
On OpenTable’s plate in 2019, diners moved towards more health-conscious dining preferences. Alternative diets are also on the rise compared to 2017 with ‘keto’ mentioned a whopping 683 percent more in reviews and ‘plant based’ mentions increasing by 136 percent. Diners also vegged out on low-calorie alternatives with ‘cauliflower crust‘ mentions skyrocketing in reviews by 487 percent and ‘jackfruit,’ another vegan and vegetarian alternative, increasing in reviews by 148 percent since 2017.
Additionally, OpenTable found diners are still choosing to indulge when it comes to global cuisines. This past year, Mexican-inspired dishes continued to grow in popularity, with ‘queso’ mentions increasing by nearly 31 percent and ‘nachos’ mentions by 19 percent over the past three years. Review mentions of ‘potstickers,’ a staple in Asian cuisine, has increased by 61 percent. Finally, review mentions of the classic Italian delicacy, ‘cacio e pepe,’ has increased by 96 percent since 2017.
Key takeaways from this year’s report include:
- Farmer-Owned: According to OpenTable data, this year’s most booked restaurant of 2019 was Founding Farmers, the popular majority farmer-owned restaurant serving scratch made, responsibly sourced American cuisine, located in Washington, D.C.*
- In With The New: OpenTable found that diners looked to try something new in 2019, with 70 percent of reservations coming from new diners booking that restaurant for the first time through OpenTable.
- Intimate Celebrations: This year, most people preferred intimate birthday celebrations over group dining with the majority of birthday reservations made for a table for two.
- Last Minute vs. In Advance: 42 percent of diners made reservations at the last minute on the day of their reservation. This is followed closely by those who made their reservations within 1-7 days ahead of dining (41 percent).
- The City That Never Sleeps (and Always Eats): New York was the most popular region in the U.S. for late night/early morning reservation bookings made from 12AM to 7:59AM. Alternatively, South Dakota proves to be the opposite with nearly 100 percent of their reservations taking place during the day (8AM – 9PM).
- American vs. Italian: American cuisine was the most popular for breakfast and lunch, while Italian cuisine took the top spot for dinner.
To learn more about OpenTable’s Year in Dining trends and see an infographic visualizing this data, please visit here .
*The most reserved restaurant of the year was determined based on online seated reservations from January 1 – September 30, 2019.
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