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How often are Americans Eating Out?

More Americans Choose to Dine In to Save Money

running of the waiters

On May 16, 2012 Harris Interactive did an online survey of 2,451 Americans between March 12-19th. Here were some interesting highlights from their research that will offer you some great insight into the dining habits of Americans.

1) 63% of Americans have dined out at a fast food chain in the last month. 53% have been to a casual dining restaurant, and 50% have dined out at a casual restaurant chain. 18% of Americans have dined at a fine restaurant establishment, and about 9% of people dined at a fine restaurant establishment chain (like Morton’s.)

2) About a 1/3rd of Americans have reported that they have been eating less frequently at fast food, casual dining, and casual chain restaurants. One interesting fact that stands out is that 1 in 10 Americans have reported to eating out more frequently.

3) 71% of Americans are cooking at home now, because their primary goal is to save money. While 57% considered going out to eat as a luxury as opposed to being an everyday activity. These numbers aren’t that far off from their Canadian counterparts with the study done by Ipsos Reid.

Approximately 70% of Americans across all age groups from 18 to 66 are finding that they are cooking at home more often to save money.

4) About 29% Americans say that they will cut spending in other areas in order to keep up with their dining habits.

What drives Americans to go eat at restaurants?

The following factors are what motivate diners to go out and eat.

1) 90% said good prices.
2) 84% said their mood (such as cravings for a particular style of cuisine).
3) 81% say a specific dish that they enjoy.
4) 80% said convenient location
5) 78% a broad variety of menu items.
6) 59% said special offers.
7) 58% said healthy items that fit their dietary need.
8) 60% of Americans say choosing the same restaurant is not important to them, nor is a menu that usually has new items.

According to an article by MSN Money, The average American spent $2,505 a year on restaurants in 2010, down from almost $2,700 in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which is making it harder for restaurant’s to be more profitable year over year.

Times have never been tougher for a restaurant. This is why that you have to ensure that you restaurant stays extraordinary in these times with excellent customer service and brand differentiation and to create intense loyalty. Until consumer confidence rises in the U.S. expect more and more Americans to choose eating at home as the norm.

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."