Value-hungry Sheffield diners put bargain bhunas and steak savings first when it comes to picking a place to eat, a new survey has revealed.
The report charting the city’s food habits also showed that residents would expect to pay an average of £11.70 for a main meal, compared to £12.04 nationwide.
Tips left for staff are an average of five per cent of the total bill, and only one in ten people spend the majority of their disposable income eating out, which was the third lowest of all cities surveyed by discount offers website LivingSocial.
Most of the 360 Sheffield people surveyed, at 69 per cent, said price influenced their decision on where to eat and half relied on personal recommendations.
Another 42 per cent – second only to Leeds – took account of food reviews.
Head chef Richard Storer, who runs the kitchen at the Rutland Arms pub in Sheffield city centre, said all dishes currently on the menu, from seabass in brown caper butter to beetroot risotto with marrow and walnuts, were under £10.
He said: “People do put price first. I think it is one of the many reasons why we struggle to sell desserts and starters; anything that isn’t a main means you are asking people to pay for something that is just about enjoyment.
“Sometimes I think that people put price before value.
“You have to know who to ask and where to go, and eventually by putting in the legwork you will find a handful of places where you can eat very well for less money.”
The report said Sheffield diners thought the city was lacking in Brazilian, Greek and French restaurants.
Residents have praised the city’s dining offer as much improved, although some said they wanted more vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.
Online readers disputed the tipping statistics, saying five per cent was ‘stingy’ and they usually aimed for ten.
The survey also showed that two in five Sheffield residents order alcohol with a meal always or most of the time. Steven Marritt, chief executive of LivingSocial UK and Ireland, said the firm’s Sheffield restaurant offers were ‘key’ and the research had provided some ‘valuable’ insights which would be used to improve their offers with restaurants and diners.
Restaurant worker Calum Higginbotham, aged 19, of Wincobank, said: “Depending on the food or place, I’d pay upwards of £15 for a main.
“I work in a restaurant so I tend to tip pretty well.”
Assistant homes manager Marie Greyson, of Meersbrook, said: “I would pay around £10 to £12 for a main.
“I never tip any less than 10 per cent unless its really, really bad. If it’s great service I tend to tip really well.”
Student Paige Royce, aged 20, of Crookes, said: “Sheffield is great for restaurants, although I’d like to see more buffets and middle-priced places.
“I would expect to pay around £8 to £12 for a main course, and I usually tip around 10 to 15 per cent.”
Journalist Austin Macauley, aged 43, of Fulwood, said: “I would pay around £10 to £12 for a main course. For restaurants, Sheffield is a lot better than it used to be, and I tend to tip around 10 per cent, but I’d give more or less depending on how good the service was.”
Chef Richard Storer’s top value places to eat in Sheffield
Noodle Inn, London Road and Westfield Terrace
Urban Choola, London Road. ‘Some of not just the best Indian, but the best cooking, in Sheffield,’ said Richard.
Pizza Brasco, pop up wood-fired pizzas at La Coppola Deli in Ranmoor on Mondays
Porter Brook Deli, Sharrow Vale Road. ‘For £10 you can go to Seven Hills, get a decent loaf of bread and some meats or cheeses from the deli and sit in the park”, he said. There are few better meals.’