Seven in Ten Americans Cooking More, Eating Out Less

One of the ways people gauge when an economic recovery is occurring is when Americans start spending more on things like eating out in restaurants.

According to the results of a recent Harris Poll, people are indeed dining out. Over three in five U.S. adults (63 percent) have dined at a fast food restaurant chain in the past month and about half have dined at a local casual dining establishment (53 percent) and a casual dining restaurant chain (50 percent). Fewer have dined at either a local fine dining establishment (18 percent) or a fine dining restaurant chain (9 percent) while 13 percent of Americans have not dined at any of these types of restaurants in the past month.

However, while Americans are dining out, they are still cutting back on how often they do so. In looking at the past six months, about one-third say they are eating less frequently at fast food chains (36 percent), casual dining restaurant chains (34 percent), and local casual dining restaurants (34 percent).

Women are more likely than men to say they are dining out less frequently in these three types of restaurants over the past six months. For example, two in five women (41 percent) say they are dining less frequently at fast food restaurants compared to 31 percent of men.

Seven in ten Americans (71 percent) say they find themselves cooking more instead of going out in order to save more money, while over half (57 percent) say going out used to be a regular occurrence but it is now a luxury. On the flip side, three in five U.S. adults (60 percent) disagree with the notion that they will eat out as often but now usually at a lower priced restaurant. Only three in ten Americans (29 percent) say they will cut spending in other places in order to still be able to dine out.

“Consumer restaurant behavior continues to evolve as they manage their budgets in an ongoing tight economy. At the beginning of the economic downturn we saw consumers saving money by changing their behavior in two ways: eating out less frequently and shifting their eating-out dollars away from Casual Dining towards Fast Food/Quick Service restaurants,” according to Mary Bouchard, vice president and thought leader at Harris Interactive. “Now, with several years of experience with constrained budgets, they have shifted even further from the busy-lifestyle convenience of eating out on a regular basis to making time for cooking at home. When they do eat out, not surprisingly, price is still a primary component of their decision making process.”

 

 

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