Michelin Survey Says Americans Will Pay a Lot for Special ‘Once in Lifetime’ Dining Occasion

LinkedIn Pinterest Tumblr

Americans will splurge an average of $203 in order to indulge in an once-in-a-lifetime dining experience at a gourmet restaurant, according to results from a recent online survey by Harris Poll sponsored by Michelin, the global tire maker that publishes the restaurant guide that imparts the famous Michelin stars to fine dining establishments around the world.

“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. “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.”

Michelin’s survey with Harris Poll queried more than 2,000 American adults, revealing some surprising preferences about great food experiences. Among them are:

  • Millennials (ages 18-34) on average would pay $282 for this culinary experience, compared to consumers aged 45-54 who would shell out $170. Those 65 and older would part with only $122.
  • 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).
  • Gender is also a factor, according to survey results. Men are willing to drop an average of $241 for an once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, while women are inclined to spend considerably less on average, at $166.
  • A quarter of US adults who participated in the Michelin survey say that steakhouse cuisine is their favorite choice for dining.
  • Italian ranked as the second choice nationally for the meal of a lifetime. Notably, nearly one in four Northeast diners (24 percent) favor Italian fare, versus 18 percent in the South, 15 percent in the Midwest and 17 percent in the West. Tied for American adults’ third choice are Mexican, American and Continental, all at 13 percent in the survey.

This survey was conducted online from June 24-26, 2015, among 2,028 adults ages. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, contact Tony Fouladpour at