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Most Americans Have Dined Out In The Past Month And, Among Type Of Cuisine, American Food Is Tops Followed By Italian

Gen Xers (93%) are more likely than any other generational segment (86% Echo Boomers, 85% Baby Boomers, 82% Matures) to indicate that their mood is an important factor in choosing a restaurant.  Additionally, Gen Xers (63%) and baby Boomers (62%) are more likely than either Echo Boomers (54%) or Matures (52%) to consider special offers to be important.

Matures are less likely than any other generational group to rate healthy menu items (56% EB, 56% GX, 55% BB, 45% M) and usually having new items to choose from (46% EB, 46% GX, 41% BB, 33% M) as important.

Preferred cuisine American adults have their choice of a multitude of different cuisines when it comes to dining out these days.  Depending on region, options can vary from the everyday to the exotic:  from pasta to poutine, from BLT's to bahn mi's, from steak medium rare to salad Nicoise.  But, it's tough to argue with the food we are most familiar with; as such, if faced with going to a restaurant and eating a single type of food, American food would be the preference for the highest percentage of U.S. adults (31%).  Italian (23%) is the next most popular choice, followed by Mexican (16%) and Chinese (14%).

Tastes are largely regional: 
  • U.S. adults living in the West (22%) are less likely than those in any other region (34% East, 34% Midwest, 32% South) to choose American food. 
  • Eastern Americans are most likely of any region to choose Italian food (31% East, 21% each Midwest, South & West) and the least likely to choose Mexican (7%-13%-18%-24%).

Additionally, men (35%) are more likely than women (26%) to choose American food.

So What? Consumers' restaurant behaviors continue to evolve, as does the country's economic fortunes.  Restaurant visits appear to be in decline over recent months, but at the same time this decrease in restaurant visits appears to be leveling off vs. 2012 findings.  This is trend is surely one the restaurant industry will be watching closely, as will the Harris Poll.

To see other recent Harris Polls, or to search through over 40 years of topics in the Harris Vault™, please visit the Harris Poll News Room .

Methodology This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 13 to 18, 2013 among 2,496 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

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