OpenTable survey: Mind your manners and mobiles this Valentine’s Day

Press release

While 73 per cent of Canadians say too much mobile phone use is a romance deal breaker when dining out for Valentine’s Day, 59 per cent of Millennials think using a mobile phone is acceptable

OpenTable has announced the findings of a new survey, revealing most Canadians (73 per cent) believe using a mobile phone too much while dining out for Valentine’s Day is a romance deal breaker. Conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of OpenTable in December 2016 among 1,012 Canadian adults, the survey found that being rude to restaurant staff, bad table manners, political talk or mention of an ex are also romance deal breakers. Additional findings of the survey include that 68 per cent of Canadians plan to dine out to mark the romantic holiday this year, and most Canadians (81 per cent) think it’s acceptable to throw caution to the wind and break their diets when dining out for Valentine’s Day.

The mobile generation gap

While the majority (63 per cent) of Canadians say it’s never acceptable to use a mobile phone when dining out for Valentine’s Day, there are differences of opinion between generations.¹ The majority of Millennials (59 per cent) find it acceptable to use a mobile phone when dining out for the holiday, while only 18 per cent of Boomers believe the same. Those from Generation X fell in the middle, at 43 per cent. In fact, many Millennials indicated that it’s acceptable to use a mobile phone during a Valentine’s Day meal to take a selfie or photo with their date (36 per cent), take photos of food/drinks (24 per cent) and to check/respond to messages (22 per cent).

“Valentine’s Day is a bright spot in the winter season that offers the opportunity to rekindle a romance, or perhaps start a new one,” said Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. “Canadians of all generations enjoy sharing a romantic meal in honour of the holiday, but remember to keep your attention on your loved one, not your phone.”

Manners matter

In addition to excessive mobile phone use, other romance deal breakers include being rude to restaurant staff (70 per cent), bad table manners such as loud chewing and/or elbows on the table (65 per cent) and talking about an ex (64 per cent). When it comes to discussing politics, the generations seem to be divided, with 46 per cent of Boomers believing it’s a romance deal breaker when dining out for Valentine’s Day and only 29 per cent of Millennials saying it’s taboo.

Diets take a hiatus

The survey also found that Canadians may already be making exceptions for any weight-loss goals they may have set for the New Year, with roughly four out of five (81 per cent) indicating it’s acceptable to break a diet when dining out for Valentine’s Day.

Additionally, many Canadians won’t be letting the winter weather ruin the opportunity to dine out, with more than two-thirds (68 per cent) indicating they are planning to dine out at a restaurant in celebration of Valentine’s Day this year, including 47 per cent of singles2.

Sparking new romance

Interestingly, many Canadians think dining out for Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be limited to those in long-term romantic relationships. Nearly half (47 per cent) of Canadians say it’s acceptable to go out for a meal for Valentine’s Day after dating for less than one month — however only 19 per cent say it’s acceptable for a first date.

Making meals special

When asked what a date could do to make a Valentine’s celebration at a restaurant more special, over half of Canadians cited dressing up more than usual or arriving early with flowers and/or a gift (52 per cent each), and nearly half (47 per cent) indicated arranging for a special table at a restaurant could help boost the romance.

It seems most Canadians would like to keep romance alive beyond this day of love, with three quarters (75 per cent) indicating they would like more spontaneous Valentine’s Day-style dinners throughout the year.

Dinner do’s and don’ts

While chivalry may not be dead, ordering on behalf of your dinner date is a practice of yesteryear — only 23 per cent of Canadians indicated they would like someone to order on their behalf if they were dining out for Valentine’s Day. However, most Canadians (70 per cent) believe sharing a dish when dining out for Valentine’s Day is a romantic gesture.

For ideas to spark romance and inspire your Valentine’s Day plans this year, check out OpenTable’s recent list of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada for 2017, or find more tips and trends for Valentine’s Day on the OpenTable Blog.

About the Survey

Conducted online within Canada by Harris Poll on behalf of OpenTable, the survey was carried out from December 13 to December 15, 2016 among 1,012 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Tiffany Fox (

About OpenTable

OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 21 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 40,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company’s website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet’s most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated over 1 billion diners around the world and more than 45 million in Canada. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and has bookable restaurants in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States.

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