OpenTable Survey Finds Americans Think It’s OK to Cheat on Valentine’s Day

OpenTable Survey Finds Americans Think It's OK to Cheat on Valentine’s Day

What are rule breakers for Valentine’s Day dining? How many people are rule benders on and around February 14th? Our survey reveals all!

According to the survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll in December 2016, among over 2,000 U.S. adults, 71% of Americans plan to dine out in celebration of the romantic holiday this year; and many indicated a desire to throw caution to the wind and break their diets, budgets, as well as the traditional rules of dating. Even with New Year’s resolutions still fresh on everyone’s mind, it appears they will not impede Americans from embracing Valentine’s Day as a 24-hour hall pass. Despite a more carefree attitude, there are still some social graces that likely won’t be met with a blind eye once at the table, including mobile phone use, political talk, or mention of an ex.

New Year, New You…until Valentine’s Day

Nearly nine out of 10 Americans (87%) say it is ok to cheat on their diet when dining out on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps pointing to a certain comfort that comes with off-the-market status, those currently in a romantic relationship are more likely to find indulging and breaking their diet on Valentine’s Day acceptable than those who are single (90% vs. 79%).

Money ain’t a thing

More than just cheating on their diet, 44% of Americans would want to make it count by splurging and ordering pricier items off the menu than they usually would. Men are more likely than women to bypass modest dishes for more decadent ones (55% vs 34%). As for singles, who will likely be footing their own bill, it appears they will be watching their pocketbooks, with only 32% saying they would order a more expensive menu item than usual for Valentine’s Day, compared to nearly half of their coupled counterparts (49%).

Hey, I just met you, but will you be my Valentine?

Half of Americans (50%) feel it is fine to dine out with a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day after less than a month of dating, with a surprising 1 in 5 (20%) saying it is acceptable as a first date.

No phones allowed, unless for a selfie or squad pic

More than half of Americans (55%) believe it is never acceptable to use a mobile phone for any reason during a Valentine’s Day meal. However, nearly one in three (32%) think it is permissible for selfies or group photos. Millennials (age 18-34), however, follow their own rules, with 71% saying it is ok to use a mobile phone for any reason during a Valentine’s Day meal.

Bad romance

More than 9 in 10 Americans believe there are surefire ways to boost (93%) or bust (95%) the mood during a Valentine’s Day meal. Among the mood enhancers, over three in five (62%) believe that arriving early with flowers or a gift is a definite win. Women are more likely than men to be particularly sweet on this romantic gesture to make a Valentine’s Day dinner date more special (67% vs. 57%). When it comes to top mood killers, using a mobile phone too much (78%), being rude to restaurant staff (76%), mentioning an ex (68%), poor table manners (68%), and discussing politics (42%) take the proverbial cake.

Looking to bend the rules this Valentine’s Day? Check out restaurants on our 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America for 2017, or the 25 Most Romantic Cities in America for 2017 listicles. And don’t miss your chance to turn your most delicious food and drink photos into a cool grand in our #ValentinesDishPics giveaway.

About the Survey:
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of OpenTable from December 13, 2016 to December 15, 2016 among 2,058 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling errors can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact