Big Apple Residents Taking Fewer Bites Out

Residents of New York City – considered by many to be the “food capital of the world” – are eating at home more than dining out, which hasn’t happened for 30 years, a new survey reveals.

“This is the first time that meals in have surpassed meals eaten or taken out,” said Tiffany Herklots, a spokeswomen for Zagat, a world-renowned restaurant and food guide, which conducted the 2013 NYC Restaurant Survey, something it has been doing since 1982.

According to the study, New York City citizens are on average cooking meals 6.7 times per week at home, and dining at restaurants or doing take-out 6.4 times during the week.

In addition, 21 percent of those surveyed are dining at restaurants less compared to a year ago, which continues a 10 year trend of New Yorkers making more meals at home.

The recession’s impact on New York City residents is the reason for the decline in dining out, according to Zagat.

But Zagat says the New York restaurant industry has rebounded from the decrease in city residents dining out due to the city’s “booming tourist industry,” which receives 50 million visitors each year.

In addition, the city’s restaurants had to change with the weak economy to offer customers more affordable dining options at establishments like burger joints, chain restaurants and noodle shops, which is “like having a second living room,” Tim Zagat, co-founder of the Zagat restaurant guide, told NBC News.

“There isn’t a restaurant in New York that still requires a tie,” he said. “If you put it over the back of your chair in the middle of dinner, they’re not going to tell you to put it back on. Ten years ago taking your jacket off in a fine dining establishment would have been unthinkable.”

The decrease in dining out is not occurring just in New York City, the NPD market research group, which looks at consumer trends, has found there are fewer people eating meals out throughout the United States. NPD reported in October that business was down 2 percent in casual dining restaurants and traffic to midscale restaurants was down 3 percent across the country.

The Zagat survey revealed that close to 200 affordable and casual restaurants opened in New York City in 2012, which Tim Zagat considers a trend that is currently saving the industry.

And, the Zagat co-founder is not convinced that eating at home saves you money, “once you factor in shopping, washing, cooking and cleaning.”


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