Going out for dinner during the festive season is a growing modern Irish Christmas tradition. That’s according to a new OpenTable survey*, which reveals that 40% of Irish adults plan to dine out at least once a week over the Christmas period. Saturday 10th December is slated to be the busiest night of the festive season with the majority of respondents (10%) saying they would choose to dine out on this date.
Here, OpenTable reveals Ireland’s Christmas dining preferences.
Christmas Day Dining
At present, only 5% of Irish adults admit to eating in restaurants on Christmas Day itself but 15% say they would like to do so if more restaurants were to open on December 25th. Indeed, a third of respondents believe that restaurants should open on Christmas Day.
The opportunity to relax and enjoy time with family was the main reason for dining out over Christmas for 71% of adults, with a significant proportion simply wanting to avoid the stress of cooking for a large group (15%).
When dining out over Christmas, more than half (51%) of respondents have a preference for traditional Irish fare. Chinese cuisine was a surprising second choice (14%), closely followed by Italian (13%). Turkey and Ham came out on top as the nation’s favourite Christmas foods (64%), followed by roast potatoes (31%) and stuffing (29%). The ever controversial Brussel Sprout was voted Ireland’s least favourite food (34%), followed by Christmas pudding (28%) and trifle (21%).
When deciding upon a dining destination, 27% of respondents said they would make a booking at their favourite tried and tested restaurant. Almost one in 5 (18%) are happy to go along with whatever option the organiser has chosen, while one in 10 are looking for a good deal or to try somewhere new.
Top tips for restaurants
Play that funky music! According to the research by OpenTable, nine in 10 diners want to hear festive music while dining out over the holidays and having a Christmassy atmosphere is the most important thing to almost one in three. Pocket-friendly restaurants are also a big draw for many with six in 10 Irish adults saying they do not expect to pay more to dine out over Christmas.
Close to a third (31%) use a meal out over Christmas as a way to catch up with friends. Family occasions (28%), work events (12%) and annual Christmas catch ups (13%) are also popular reasons for festive dining.
Commenting on the survey findings, Adrian Valeriano, Vice President Global Sales and Services at OpenTable, said: “We’ve long known that Ireland is a foodie nation and it’s interesting to see that dining out has also become ingrained in modern Christmas tradition. The Christmas period can prove to be stressful, especially if you are catering for a large group, so heading out to a restaurant and spending quality time with your loved ones can really enhance the festive experience. OpenTable is the world’s leading restaurant booking platform and we are committed to connecting Irish diners with the restaurants we know they will love this Christmas season.”
*Survey carried out online among 354 Irish adults aged 18+ (87% female 12% male)