Eating Out vs Grocery Shopping

new age

Statistics show Americans spend more eating out at restaurants then they do shopping for groceries.  According to Commerce Department data the sales for restaurants finally overtook the sales from grocery stores for March 2015.  American eating habits are changing mainly because there are more people in the Millennials category than ever before.  The restaurants Millennials target is fast food, deli, and pizza more than traditional casual dining with table service.  Casual dining is generally more expensive and the food takes longer to cook.  For March grocery stores had close to $50 billion in sales and restaurants were estimated at $50.4 billion.

The statistics for March 2015 is not 100% accurate because Commerce Department data left out Costco, Target, and Walmart for grocery stores.   The three are highly profitable and where most consumers shop for groceries.  The Commerce Department has them recorded as “general merchandise retailers” category instead of the “grocery store” category.  20% of consumer spending for groceries alone is made at Walmart.  Adding the data for all three would likely change the statistics in favor of grocery stores for the month of March 2015.

Even with the flawed statistics, what’s apparent is more people are eating out at restaurants than ever before.  The data gathered by Commerce Department although not 100% accurate does show a gradual increase for restaurant spending.  The data should be analyzed most by restaurant owners and future restaurant owners.  Statistics provide the type of restaurants most popular and may offer a few strategies of what needs to change at current operating restaurants that are not profitable.  The restaurant business is highly competitive known to be cutthroat.  It has a high failure rate so understanding consumer trends can help keep more restaurants in business.  It’s undeniable what customization can do for restaurants because most consumers enjoy options for the food they eat.  They want to be the ones to decide what ingredients are added or removed from meals because not everyone has the same taste preferences.  The trend is for low cost meals with options because Millennials are more focused on what they eat.  They take about 14.5 billion visits to restaurants every year and spend close to $96 billion.