Politicians and public servants spend the most when eating out, according to a national survey into Australia's dining habits.
The Dimmi Australian Dining Index, drawn from 300,000 diners and 2000 restaurants, shows Canberra diners spend $82 per person when dining out; 33 per cent more than the average Australian.
Across the States, most diners spend an average of $60 per person, with the ACT at the top of the scale and Queensland at the other end on $56 per person. South Australians spend $66, while West Aussies fork out $65 followed closely by NSW on $64. Diners spend an average of $59 in Victoria.
Bookings surge on Valentine's Day, followed by Christmas, Father's Day and Mother's Day.
Dimmi's analysis also confirmed more people are heading online before heading out, with a 67 per cent annual increase in online restaurant reservations.
However, the earlier people make those reservations, the less likely they are to keep them.
According to Dimmi, one-in-five people who book a month in advance eventually change their mind, whereas 92 per cent of those who make a same-day booking actually turn up.
Of those who make last-minute bookings, men outnumber women by 53 per cent, whereas 62 per cent of advance bookings are made by women.
"Diners in the ACT and WA are leading the charge when it comes to booking online, closely followed by South Australia and NSW," Dimmi said.
The survey found that 16 per cent of diners spend more than $90 per head, compared with 20 per cent a year ago.
"The grim economic outlook and spate of fine-dining restaurant closures has been reflected in a drop in dining out at the high end over the past year," Dimmi said.
Modern Australian and European-style restaurants are a favourite among Aussie diners, while South American, Asian and Indian are among the top five cuisines, the survey revealed.
Service and value for money play an important role in dining out.
"We're definitely seeing a move away from fine-dining towards value for money - around $50 seems to be the new threshold as diners seek out more casual options that offer great service and good food and wine at a reasonable price," Dimmi founder and chief executive Stevan Premutico said.The survey also rated dining hotspots in the city from highest to lowest: Sydney (city), Melbourne (city), Darlinghurst, Brisbane (city), Crows Nest, Surfers Paradise, Southbank, Prahran, Fitzroy, St Kilda, South Brisbane, Elizabeth Bay, Broadbeach, Milton and Pymble.
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