Website Visits Crucial for British Columbians Who Dine Out

Almost two-in-five left a gratuity of more than 20% at a restaurant, while one-in-five walked out without leaving a tip.

Vancouver, BC [January 10, 2019] – Many British Columbians are venturing on the web to decide where to have their next meal outside the home, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 47% of British Columbians say they visited a restaurant’s website before making a reservation over the past year—including 62% of those who reside in the Lower Mainland.

Across the province, 48% of residents say they dine out about once a month or less. Conversely, 13% say they dine out a couple of times a week or more—a proportion that reaches 18% among those aged 18-to-34.

One-in-five British Columbians (19%) took a photograph of a dish that was served to them or someone at their table when dining out. Residents aged 18-to-34 are decidedly more likely to have pointed their cameras at food inside a restaurant (33%) than those aged 35-to-54 (18%) and those aged 55 and over (7%).

Millennials are also more likely to report waiting or standing in line for more than hour to enter a restaurant (12%, compared to the provincial average of 7%).

For the most part, the experiences of British Columbians who dine out have been positive over the past year. Almost two-in-five (38%) say they left a restaurant after tipping more than 20%, while only one-in-five (21%) admit to exiting a restaurant without tipping.

More than a third of British Columbians (35%) complimented good service to a restaurant manager over the past year—including 43% of those aged 55 and over—and only 15% actively complained about bad service.

One-in-four British Columbians (25%) say they sent a bad dish to the kitchen while dining out, and 28% affirm they were served hot food that was too cold.

More than half of British Columbians (52%) say they would go back to a restaurant where the food is great, but too expensive—including 70% of those aged 18-to-34.

Fewer British Columbians would revisit a restaurant where the food is great, but the service is terrible (36%) or a restaurant where the food is cheap, but not great (24%). Only one-in-twenty residents (5%) would go back to a restaurant where the service is great, but the food is terrible.

“There is an interesting gender gap when it comes to revisiting cheap restaurants that are not remarkable,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Men in British Columbia (29%) are more likely to have no qualms about this than women (18%).”


Results are based on an online study conducted from January 2 to January 4, 2019, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.