Before you dine out, check with BBB

The average American eats an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals each week, according to The Simple Dollar. Likewise, the average American spends $232 per month eating meals prepared outside the home.

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According to the National Restaurant Association, it was a $799 billion industry in 2017.

Whether you’re looking for a great breakfast spot, a quick lunch or dinner out with friends, Better Business Bureau can help you pick a reputable restaurant so your hard-earned money is spent wisely.

Over the last year, BBB recorded more than 3,300 inquiries locally about the restaurant industry. Nationally, your BBB received about 417,000 inquiries and almost 4,500 complaints.

When choosing a restaurant, BBB offers these tips:

• Get recommendations from friends and family. If they’re pleased with a restaurant choice, most likely you will be too.

• Check out restaurants online including

• Find out how long the restaurant has been in business.

• Make sure the atmosphere and ambiance is what you expect. Your first impression can be very telling about the restaurant.

• Make sure the facility is clean and well-maintained. Are the bathrooms tidy? Does it look like the employees take pride in its appearance?

• Beware of service. Make sure the servers are pleasant, efficient and knowledgeable.

• Be sure you like the food — its presentation, taste and cost.

• Inquire about restaurant specials or discounts.

• Find out if a restaurant is a member of an association such as the National Restaurant Association.

Remember, if you’re dining out of town, be sure to check with the hotel’s concierge or front desk on recommendations for places to eat. Also, your food should arrive hot. Even if a restaurant is busy, an organized and efficient restaurant can get the food to its customers in a timely manner. Also, be sure to mention any dining needs, such as food allergies.

If you have any questions regarding restaurants, you can always get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited restaurants and Business Profiles on ones you're considering. Visit or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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