Study: Americans’ budgets for eating out have dropped by 10%

receipt for food and drink at restaurant cafe 1487473877

A new study has found that American consumers now spend 30% of their monthly food budgets on restaurants — down from 40% just two years ago. 

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the survey, which was conducted by the restaurant marketing technology company Popmenu, asked 1,000 respondents about how they spent their money on food and their attitudes about restaurants. While “64% of consumers said they would visit a restaurant every day if they could,” many reported that inflation had caused them to reconsider how they spent their food budgets, including cutting back on dining out. 

This decreased spending is reflected in current U.S. Census Bureau data that shows food and drink businesses generated $93.7 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in March 2024, versus $94.2 billion in November. 

“We are all feeling pressure on unit economics. Our labor costs are extremely high. Prime costs are going up. We have to price to close that gap so we have enough profit margin to survive,” Lauren Fernandez, CEO/founder of Full Course said during Nation’s Restaurant News’ recent CREATE Roadshow event in Atlanta. “One of the fastest levers to pull is taking price, but some of us are at risk of taking too much price.”


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