Endangered: Family Dinners in NYC

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New Survey from Kitchensurfing Shows How Far New Yorkers Go to Avoid the Family Dinner Table

“While New Yorkers have the best -- and easiest -- dining options in the world, there’s no substitute for taking the time to eat a real dinner around the table with your family.”

Home-cooked family dinners are one of the unfortunate casualties of New Yorkers’ well-documented stressed and busy lives.

New York City residents who live with a family (meaning a spouse, partner and/or kids) eat out, order in or buy prepared dinners an average of three nights per week, according to a new survey conducted by Kitchensurfing-- a service that sends professional chefs to families’ homes once a week or more to prepare dinner -- that examines New Yorkers’ family dinner habits.

Men are more likely to miss home-cooked dinners. They eat out, order in or get takeout an average of 3.4 times per week, compared to women at 2.8 times per week.

“Kitchensurfing’s mission is to bring back the weekday, home-cooked family meal, and it’s clear from this survey that New Yorkers are in need of that,” said Jon Tien, CEO of Kitchensurfing. “While New Yorkers have the best -- and easiest -- dining options in the world, there’s no substitute for taking the time to eat a real dinner around the table with your family.”

The House or Out? Manhattan vs. Staten Island

Manhattan residents are the least home-bound with their dinner habits. Of all the boroughs, Manhattan-ites cook at home the least, eat out the most, order delivery the most (and spend more on it), and eat later that their outer-borough neighbors.

“Many busy Manhattan couples tell us that as much as they want to cook dinner at home with their kids, their schedules simply don’t permit it,” said Tien. “As convenient as takeout and restaurants are, Manhattanites are frustrated by their inability to have a real, home-cooked family meal around their kitchen table.”

Staten Island dwellers have the most "traditional" dinner routines. They eat the most home-cooked meals, order the least takeout, eat more often at the kitchen table, and eat early.

TV, Email, Texting, oh my….Dinner isn’t just about dinner

And when New Yorkers do sit down with their families for an at-home dinner, they prove themselves to be the ultimate multitaskers. A majority (55%) watch TV while eating, 13% check/post to social media, 16% email, 14% text and 21% browse the Internet.

Manhattan residents? They’re most likely to listen to music while chowing down. Brooklyn folks, on the other hand, are more likely to be online, posting to social media or surfing the Web.

Some other interesting habits revealed:

Men ask: Oven? That's for what, exactly?

10% of men have stored shoes in the oven; 10% money (better double-check before you pre-heat!); 30% other kitchen appliances; 8% garbage/recyclables; 8% paper/mail
74% of women have stored nothing in their ovens vs. just 54% of men

Why eat dinner at a table when you've got a bed?

37% of NYers typically eat their at-home dinners somewhere other than a table: 19% on the couch, 6% on the bed (?!).
Bronx residents are the city’s biggest dinner-in-bed lovers (11% eat dinner there).
Women are more likely to be bed eaters than guys (8% typically eat there vs. 3% of men)

Oh what I wouldn't do for a personal chef!

Personal chefs are the second most coveted personal-service professional (after housekeepers).    
Men tend to cook less at home than women, and they want a chef even more (55% of women say they decide what's for dinner in their households, vs 39% of men; 71% of women say they prepare home-cooked dinner; 33% of men).

Finally, even if it’s not now, dinner-time used to be a family affair, especially for women. 44% of women ate dinner every night with their families growing up and 29% of men did the same.

The survey was conducted on Kitchensurfing's behalf by Market Cube between December 23-30, 2015, among 1,000 residents of New York City, ages 18+, who live with a spouse/partner and/or children.

About Kitchensurfing
Kitchensurfing is a service that provides a home-cooked meal one or more times per week, prepared and served to you by a professional chef in the comfort of your own home. You simply select each meal from the weekly menus created by the Kitchensurfing culinary team, a chef arrives with all the ingredients and supplies, and cooks and cleans up in under thirty minutes. Meals cost less than $30 per person. Kitchensurfing currently serves Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, with other areas in New York City -- and the rest of the country -- coming soon.

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Bonnie Morris
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