Food: Restaurants serve up bigger bills

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The Independent Online
People in London eat out an average of three times a week, according to a restaurant survey. At the same time, the cost of eating out is going up - but not enough to deter diners, it seems. The average bill per person in a London restaurant has gone up to pounds 26.41 this year from pounds 25.50 in 1996. This is pounds 7 more than the average bill in New York and pounds 11 more than in Los Angeles, according to the Zagat Restaurant Survey, which found that 51 per cent of meals are either eaten in a restaurant or bought at take-away venues.

Tim Zagat, the survey's founder, said that although Britons were eating out more often, they still found plenty to complain about. Some 33 per cent called for better service, 22 per cent for lower prices, and 19 per cent wanted better food. By contrast, only 7 per cent of New Yorkers wanted better food, although 43 per cent said service could be improved. This is the second year of the London edition of the survey, which began in New York in 1979.