While you're probably cool with splurging a nice little chunk of your rent money on meals for special occasions like birthdays and Valentine's Day, how much would you be willing fork up for a once-in-a-lifetime eating experience at a fine dining restaurant? Well, a recent survey commissioned by the culinary guide specialists at Michelin suggests that Americans are willing to spend some serious cash for a meal they'd never forget.
Conducted by Harris Poll, the online survey of more than 2,000 US adults found that Americans would pay an average of $203 for an outstanding experience at a gourmet restaurant, according a press release. However, the survey also shows that some Americans are willing to pay more for these experiences than others. For example, young people (18-34) on average would pay as much as $282, or significantly more than older diners (45-54), who on average would pay $170. People 65 and older, said they'd pay even less -- $122, on average.
“We discovered across every demographic that American diners would be willing to pay a sizable sum to eat the best meal of their lives at a high-end restaurant,” said Cynthia Ochterbeck, Michelin’s US editorial director for travel guides, in the release. “Perhaps this is the influence of around-the-clock food shows and celebrity chefs, but the fine food movement continues to see an extraordinary growth in popularity.”
In addition to the differences among the age groups, the results revealed some other interesting insights into Americans' food preferences: "Geographically, diners in the West are much bigger spenders, saying they would pay $352 for an unsurpassed meal, which is essentially double what people would pay in the Northeast ($182), the South ($149) and Midwest ($148)," the release states. "Gender is also a factor, according to survey results. Men are willing to drop an average of $241 for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, while women are inclined to spend considerably less on average, at $166."
Ultimately, that's a lot of cash to drop on one meal, seeing as it's probably just as much as your monthly pizza delivery budget, so it had better be life-changing, dammit.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and would love to enjoy an outstanding fine dining experience... on someone else's dime. Send news tips to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.