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Angelenos tip less but also spend less on meals, says Zagat survey

October 25, 2011 |  3:00 am


A quarter of Angelenos say they're eating out less, while 18% say they're spending less on restaurant fare, according to a Zagat report on American restaurant habits.

But the average diner in the city still eats out or gets takeout for 47% of their meals -- and spends $35.56 on average, according to the report.

Good thing they’re not living in Tokyo, where the average diner shelled out $113.09, or London, where eating out runs $69.25 on average, according to Zagat. Angelenos spent less at eateries than New Yorkers, San Franciscans and Las Vegas residents.

The majority of Angelenos aren’t impressed by celebrity chefs -– just 40% said they’d be more willing to dine at a restaurant helmed by a famous face.

While 65% of Los Angeles diners find mobile phone use in eateries to be rude and inappropriate, 67% say they’re fine with mealtime photos.

About a quarter use social media to follow food trucks, and more than 4 in 10 use the Internet to make restaurant reservations. That compares with 63% in tech-obsessed San Francisco and 10% in Hawaii.

More than half of Angelenos said they’d pay more for so-called “green” food that is locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised. In Portland, more than three-quarters of residents feel the same, compared with just 40% of Las Vegas denizens.

The West Coast is a stingier tipper than the rest of the country, according to Zagat. In L.A., the average tip is 18.7%, compared with 19.7% in New Orleans and 19.6% in Detroit.

Zagat, a restaurant ratings guide bought up by Google Inc. last month, surveyed more than 156,000 diners for its report. Other nationwide findings include:

• Restaurants should limit how long diners can linger at tables during peak hours, say 63% of respondents;
• Four in 10 avoid cash-only restaurants;
• More than 35% stay away from eateries with communal tables.


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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Angelini Osteria restaurant in Los Angeles, which was ranked in the Zagat survey as one of the city's top five restaurants along with Matsuhisa, Asanebo, Melisse and Urasawa. Credit:  Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times