In the midst of inflation, soaring energy and food costs and talks of a potential recession, restaurant meals remain a staple in consumer diets. On average, 40% of individual or family food budgets is spent on restaurants each month, according to Popmenu's nationwide survey of 1,002 consumers in May 2022. When ordering online, 33% of consumers spend $50 or more per order, on average.
Despite lingering concerns around the pandemic, more consumers are transitioning from delivery or takeout only to on-premise dining: 45% of consumers eat in restaurant dining rooms at least twice a week.
[75% of consumers prefer to order delivery direct from the restaurant, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study.]
What would consumers give up first to meet budgets?
As budgets tighten, consumers said they are more likely to pull back on other purchases such as new clothes, travel and gym memberships before reducing their restaurant spending:
- New clothes – 44% of consumers
- Travel – 42%
- Gym membership – 33%
- Ride services (Uber, Lyft, taxis, etc) – 33%
- Streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Peacock, Hulu, Prime Video, etc) – 30%
- Other entertainment (movies, sports events, concerts) – 29%
- Personal grooming (hair/nail salon) – 27%
Is eating at restaurants easier on the wallet?
While the convenience and taste of professionally cooked cuisine certainly influence the reliance on restaurant dining, cost is also a factor. In a Q1 2022 study of 1,000 U.S. consumers, Popmenu found that 29% of consumers said that it's cheaper to order from restaurants than buy all the items needed to cook a meal; 27% said it costs roughly the same…without all the work.
Do life moments factor into dining choices?
Another reason why consumers enjoy restaurant dining is the special moments that often occur, whether planned or unplanned. In Popmenu's May 2022 survey, consumers reported experiencing the following at restaurants:
- Reunited with family and friends – 47%
- Made a new friend – 36%
- Met spouse or significant other – 26%
- Watched favorite team win a national championship – 25%
- Landed a job – 20%
- Signed a business deal – 18%
"Restaurants play an important role in everyday life, from making meals to making memories," said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu "While consumers are keeping a closer eye on economic trends and their overall spending, restaurant dining continues to account for a significant portion of their food budgets each month. Where they ultimately choose to spend their dollars is, in part, influenced by how much the restaurant is keeping consumers engaged through digital outreach and how frictionless the overall experience is both online and on-premise. Quality, convenience and value are top of mind."
Popmenu conducted a nationwide, anonymous survey of 1,002 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older, from May 20 to May 21, 2022.