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Five Food Trends American Diners Love: Survey

Avocado toast, food photography, reservation policies, and more

Photographing avocado toast Shutterstock

Dining trends come and go but food photography, it seems, is forever. That’s according to Zagat’s latest National Dining Trends, released today, which delves into how diners behave and the trends they love and loathe.

Below, the five biggest takeaways from the survey of 9,865 users:

1. People love to take pictures of their food. Even if it means getting their iPhone covered in mashed potatoes.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they take photos of their meal to post to social media. Eight percent of diners even admit to dropping their phone in their food in an effort to get the perfect shot.

Though more and more restaurants are encouraging patrons to leave their phones at home when dining out, not all diners are ready to heed that advice. According to the report, 44 percent of diners say they take food photos to share via social media.

Of those food photogs, 60 percent admitted to stopping a dining companion from eating in order to take a photo of their food, and 19 percent said they had picked a restaurant just so they could take a photo of the food. Five percent said they had even asked another table if they could take a picture of their dish.

Though a sizable amount of diners (41 percent) will post a photo to Instagram or Facebook right from their table, a minority (one percent) said they would slip into the restroom to do it.


2. Avocado toast is still a big deal.

Among the food trends mentioned in Zagat’s report are the usual suspects (quinoa, avocado toast, sriracha), though the results are somewhat surprising. Turns out we haven’t quite reached peak avocado toast. In fact, 33 percent of respondents (up from 24 percent last year) say they “love” the stuff. Following behind is ramen (31 percent love it), sriracha, and pork belly (31 percent are fans).

3. Cronuts, however, are not.

The trends diners can’t stand? Food mashups (cronuts, ramen burgers) which 38 percent of diners said they were over. A full 50 percent of Seattle diners said they had had it up to here with mashup foods, so if you’re looking to create the next cronut, maybe do it outside of Washington.

4. Diners are not averse to faking an allergy to get a stack of gluten-free pancakes.

Also of note? Dining allergies, which apparently people are willing to fake in order to eat a certain item. Fourteen percent of respondents admit they have or would fake a food allergy in order to have a dish modified to their liking.

5. People hate reservations-only policies. They also hate no-reservations policies.

The report delved into dining deal-breakers — i.e. things that would stop someone from dining at a particular restaurant. The top pet-peeve, say diners, is a cash-only policy (38 percent of respondents hate that). But the other answers prove that diners just don’t know what they want. While 20 percent of respondents said their biggest deal-breaker was a reservation-only policy, 19 percent said theirs was a no-reservation policy.

Some pet peeves, though, weren’t surprising at all. Rounding out the dining deal-breaker list, of course, was a “no photos allowed” policy.

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