Is chivalry dead? A third of British men reveal they won’t be picking up the Valentine’s bill this year

  • Third of men will split the bill or make their partner pay this Valentine’s Day
  • Nottingham couples are most likely to go Dutch whereas Glaswegian couples are least likely
  • OpenTable reveals the tips and tricks to avoid that awkward end of dinner moment


LONDON, UK – 11 February 2019: This Valentine’s Day, a third of modern British men (32%) will refuse to foot the bill for their romantic dinner according to new research from OpenTable, the world’s leading restaurant booking service.

A belief in equality in all senses was given as the top reason (21%) for why 21st century males insist on splitting the tab or letting their date pay, followed by “it’s outdated” (20%) and a simple lack of funds (12%). Meanwhile, a cheeky 9% of UK men claim that their date isn’t worth shelling out for.

OpenTable’s research revealed that despite being the most expensive city to live in the UK, Londoners were the least likely to go halves on a first date with only a quarter (24%) of bills being shared equally compared to 46% of Cardiff meals.

For Valentine’s Day, Liverpool was crowned the capital of co-operation where over two thirds of romantic dates (67%) were organised by the couple together.

Chivalry is most definitely stronger at the beginning of a relationship, as almost 80% of men claim they would only cover the tab on a first date, the research shows. Female views on men paying the bill divided the nation, with 21% of women agreeing it’s an outdated concept, compared to (22%) who felt if it was offered they would politely accept.

In general, women were much more open to their dates picking up the bill when in a relationship (51%), versus on a first date (32%).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger generation of 16-29-year-old men pay a quarter of the time, whereas gentlemen who are 60 years+ pick up the bill 74% of the time. Young couples are much more likely to go Dutch on a date (37%) than the elderly generation (17%).

With OpenTable reporting an 18% increase in Valentine’s Day reservations in 2018 from the previous year, wining and dining remains a clear favourite for British couples on the annual date. Ahead of February 14th, the restaurant booking service shares its insight into the behaviour of modern dating and tips on how to have a stress-free dining experience.

OpenTable’s top three tips to avoid THAT dating dilemma:

  • Plan ahead

When browsing via desktop or mobile device, be sure to check out OpenTable’s price guide which details the average meal cost at a chosen restaurant displaying £, ££, £££ or ££££ symbols on each restaurant’s profile page. You can compare restaurants against each other and ensure that your choice fits within both parties’ budget.

  • Be prepared

As it can be difficult to judge what the billing outcome will be, particularly on a first date, be prepared no matter the outcome. OpenTable would always recommend having cash on hand, which can be useful for splitting the bill or leaving a tip. Don’t forget your card though, as many restaurants are card-only establishments!

  • Take advantage of Valentine’s Day set menus

Picking a set menu this Valentine’s Day can help manage the cost, and also makes it simpler to split the bill with your date. OpenTable has a range of exclusive offers and set menus for any budget and taste.

For OpenTable, the big romantic gesture should start before the bill arrives. The restaurant booking service encourages couples to take the time and effort to research and book the perfect restaurant for their Valentine. The data reveals that when it comes to organising the dining date spot, men and women are at odds over who takes on this job.

Whilst almost half of men (49%) proudly shared that they took charge of the restaurant booking, a similar number of women (47%) claimed it was a joint couple decision.

Adrian Valeriano, Vice President, Europe, OpenTable, comments “At OpenTable we’re all about celebrating moments in life with good wine, great food and even better company. Whether you’re surprising a loved one with a special meal, or booking your favourite date spot together, we have over 7,300 restaurants in the UK perfect for that special Valentine’s dinner.”

“Paying the bill can be an awkward moment, especially for new couples, but by doing your research, planning in advance and making the most of set menus we hope that OpenTable can take that stress away.”

Top 10 UK Cities Most Likely To Go Dutch this Valentine’s Day

(highest % of couples who will split the restaurant bill)

  1. Nottingham (53.8%)
  2. Brighton (48%)
  3. Plymouth (45%)
  4. Manchester (43.5%)
  5. Leicester (42.3%)
  6. Sheffield (40.5%)
  7. Edinburgh (40%)
  8. Oxford (38.1%)
  9. Cardiff (37.5%)
  10. Leeds (37.3%)