Are local diners eating out less often? See our survey results

There’s no escaping it: The cost of dining out is up—and not just locally. Growth in full-service menu prices reached record highs in 2022, with 9% year-over-year increases spanning several months. Price increases are only now seeming to stabilize, with a 4.8% year-over-year rise in April 2024—the smallest jump since August 2020.

How are Capital Region residents responding? To find out, 225 conducted a survey at 225batonrouge.com for four weeks this spring. A total of 675 people shared what draws them to a restaurant, how much they’ll fork over for a meal and more.

Other sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Restaurant Association





Is Baton Rouge breaking up with chains?

In open-ended responses, many participants lamented the longtime local popularity of chain restaurants. But almost as many pointed to a trend in the opposite direction. “It has really diversified in the last 10 years. We have a lot more local restaurants compared to chain restaurants, which is a great thing,” wrote Nick Delaune. Stacy Parker added, “When I first moved to Baton Rouge in 2006 there were so many chain restaurants and not as many local places like you can find in New Orleans. Now we have a better selection of nice places to go for quality food.”

What are diners craving?

• International cuisine, especially Korean, Chinese, Thai and Japanese.

• Outdoor seating.

• Sandwich shops. Think: Jewish delis, bread-driven bakeries and sandwich-and-soup concepts.


The top 3 factors diners consider when deciding where to eat, ranked:

1. Food quality

2. Cost

3. Service



We asked respondents to sound off about BR’s dining scene—what they love the most, their pet peeves, and hopes and dreams for the city’s culinary future. Their answers have been scattered throughout this feature, including a few more below.

“The number of high-quality restaurants in BR has dropped precipitously. It seems like everything new or interesting is owned by the same five companies/people and they all feel over-leveraged, which translates to unreliable quality and, frankly, menus getting stale and concepts implemented without fidelity because hiring, training and keeping employees is so difficult. The real good food is in ethnic, family-owned restaurants on the fringes of the city.”

—Liz Smith

“In general, the quality of food is just better here than in other places in the South, with the exception of New Orleans. We may not have the fine dining options that Memphis or Birmingham have, but your average meal from a local establishment in BR is typically better than what you get in those cities—barbecue being the only notable exception.”

—Nathan McBride

“Prices have drastically increased. … Parking can be difficult. Feels like less live music. And it’s hard to find specials restaurants are running.”

—Camille Lindsey

“Food is something that really makes south Louisiana and Baton Rouge stand out. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming trying to decide where to eat because everything is so good.”

—Hannah Martin-Stevens




This article was originally published in the July 2024 issue of 225 Magazine.