Restaurants vs. Groceries – The Changing American Dietary habit

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Grocery Shopping

Recent census bureau data has shown that for the first time since they
began tracking this data, Americans have spent more dining out than on buying
groceries and eating at home.
This is
very good news for the restaurant industry.
The question though is, why the change?

Restaurants have always been an important business and part of the
American economy and food experience, but for generations, eating at home was
the norm and more money was spent on groceries than eating out. Going out to eat was often reserved for a
special occasion, or as a treat, yet in today’s society, especially among young
millennials, dining out is more frequently becoming the norm.

It’s plain
In previous years, going out to your local restaurant and sitting in a
comfortable booth, or going to the local pub and sitting around the pub table
and eating your favorite “treat meal” was an occasion.
Today, café chairs and outdoor seating at
your local bistro are filled with diners spending more and more money on eating
out than ever before.

While this is good news, the question begs to be asked, “why?” Among the most recent factors in this change are
the recent decline in gas prices, and the overall improvement in the American economy. Simply put, many Americans now have more
disposable income than they previously did, and are opting to use that money
towards eating out.

This also brings up another point—why eating out as opposed to buying
more groceries? Some factors that can
answer this question are the fact that many Americans now live a fast-paced
lifestyle with work requirements that often make cooking at home a difficult
choice. When everyone in the household
is out at work, that doesn’t leave much time for anyone to prep and prepare
meals, so it becomes easier to go out and have a meal at a restaurant, and relax
in the comfortable restaurant furnishings and let someone else do the cooking
for you.

Many Millennials have come of age and are a strong
market influence. As a group, they are choosing the eating out experience over
cooking food in their own homes.
The reasons
for this are largely societal, and come down to some of the same causes that
influence older generations today.

Millennials do not have a lot of time to cook at home, and therefore
choose to eat out. They also are
bringing about a changing attitude and experience when it comes to
restaurants. The local restaurant is now,
in many ways, an extension of home, and restaurants have become a popular place
for people of all ages to get together and enjoy their meals along with the
company of family and friends.  So, while
in the past, going out to eat was often reserved for special occasions, today
all occasions are a good reason to go out and enjoy some good food.