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People Who Eat Out Usually Eat Out a Lot: Survey

Tamara E. Holmes
People Who Eat Out Usually Eat Out a Lot: Survey

When it comes to eating out, Americans aren’t saving the experience just for special occasions. In fact, a new survey suggests that most consumers who dine out do so multiple times per week.

Hospitality solutions provider Fourth surveyed 1,000 American adults who say they eat out, whether they dine in restaurants, pick up food to go, or have a meal delivered. Most of them—56%—reported eating out at least 2 to 3 times per week, while 10% said they eat out 4 to 6 times each week, and 6% said they eat out everyday.

When it comes to getting restaurant meals, respondents with an income of between $50,001 and $60,000 ate out the most, at an average of just under 4 times per week. However, those in the bracket just below—earning between $40,001 and $50,000—actually spent the most money, at an average of $117.82 a week, or roughly 12%-15% of their annual income.

Age appears to be a factor in how often people eat out, as the survey data suggested younger consumers spend more on prepared foods than do older generations.

Millennials (defined in the survey as those aged 25 to 34) spent the most dining out, averaging $95 per week. While 43% of millennial respondents said they ate out for convenience, 49% said they eat in restaurants because it provides a social setting for them to spend time with friends and family.

As for other age groups:

  • 18-24 year olds spent $53 per week on average
  • 35-44 year olds spent $75 per week on average
  • 45-54 year olds spent $48 per week on average
  • Those aged 55 and over spent $42 per week on average

When it comes to gender, the men polled typically ate out 3.45 times per week, compared to the women, who ate out 2.15 times per week. Men were also more likely to eat out everyday than women (10% versus 2%), and they spent an average of $82 per week dining out, compared to women, who spent $69.

Interestingly, some of the reasons given for eating out seemed to reflect gender stereotypes. For example, 22% of men said they eat out at restaurants because they don’t like to cook, compared to only 15% of women who said they feel that way. And 19% of women said they like eating out because it gives them the opportunity to be waited on, compared to only 11% of men.

Whether you’re eating out as a way to socialize or you simply find it easier to grab takeout than to cook, make sure you budget for it. It’s worthwhile to track your spending so you don’t underestimate how much you’re actually shelling out each week on food.

If you know you’re going to eat out regularly, apply for a credit card that offers dining rewards, which could cut down on your costs. By taking the time to consider your meal costs, you can save money whether you cook at home or eat out.