Scrutinizing the Lunchtime Spending Habits of Americans

Eating out may seem like the quickest and easiest way to escape the chores that go with food preparation, but it’s not exactly the most practical, largely due to the incurred expenses. But it’s just impossible to avoid it, because, c’mon, when you’re craving for America’s Incredible Pizza for example, it’s just much easier to get in the car and drive off to these pizza places rather than making your own (and yours won’t even come close even if you try, and you know that).

It’s no wonder then, that in the United States alone, statistics show that the restaurant-industry sales of approximately $398 billion dollars in 2009 has increased to an estimated $491 billion dollars in 2015. So the restaurant industry is thriving, and thanks to the average American for that, who eats an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals per week, or in monetary value, that would be the average American spending $232 per month on meals prepared outside the home.

Take another survey conducted by Visa, who surveyed 1,003 adults across the United States to find out more about their lunchtime spending habits. Surely, lunch is not the most important meal of the day, but it appears to be among the most costly.

On the average, the respondents said that they go out for lunch at least twice a week and spend $10 per meal, so that would be an annual spending of $936. But what’s more interesting is that men are spending more than the women. Men spend $21 on average, while the women around $14.

Geographic location also influences spending habits as the survey revealed that Northeasterners spend 14% more per meal than the national average of $17.10 weekly. But Southerners are leading in weekly spending, since their cheque average every lunch out would be $20 per week.

The survey also made a surprising discovery. Those who earn less are more likely to spend more on lunch than those who earn more. We’re talking about a price difference of 22% here, and that is still a lot of money involved, if you don’t make that much. To be exact, here are the figures: those who made less than $25k annually spent $11.70 per meal, while those earning more than $50k per year spent $9.60 on the average.

In the long run, eating out may cause a hole in your pocket, and add inches to the waistline, which could be the unpleasant results of your choice to dine out frequently. And why the additional inches on the waist? First, you don’t know how much “secret ingredients” go into your restaurant meal to make it delicious. These secret ingredients are commonly cream, butter, oil and sugar. So if you mind the extra calories that go into your body, it’s better to lessen your frequency of eating out. And also, how can you avoid desserts when all you need to do is say the word, and it shall be served?

But admittedly, there are way too many “advantages” to dining out, than whipping up a home-cooked meal, and here are some of the reasons why people eat out.

Convenience

Convenience - RestaurantMealPricesYou order, you eat, you pay, and you leave. That is simple enough to do, rather than creating your own mess in the kitchen, deciding what ingredients to use, cooking, cleaning up, washing the dishes, and so on. And if you don’t have a menu planned, you’re in for even bigger trouble.

Instant Gratification

Craving for lasagna? Or a piece of big, juicy steak? Maybe some cheesecake or some exotic Indian dessert? Whatever your craving is, as long as you have the money to spend, you can just buy it from a fast food or restaurant, instead of making your own. There are also some people who decide what they want to eat five minutes before mealtime, so this is an advantage made for people like them.

More Food Choices

Obviously, you can choose whatever you want to eat, and whatever type of cuisine, and it’s just much easier to order them in a restaurant than if you were to make your own.

Social Activity

Those who are single and living alone will eat out simply because they feel too lonely eating alone in their own home. If you are a regular customer in a particular restaurant, you might have even made friends with the service crew already.

But even for families, eating out can be a time for engaging in meaningful conversations with one another. Because you are not bound by the household chores, this becomes more of a family gathering and a way to keep in touch with one another, especially if all of you are busy during the day, either with work or school.

Category: Healthy Food

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