Sales at the nation’s eating and drinking places jumped 13 percent over a year earlier to $48 billion in January, the largest such gain in over a decade, according to analysis of Census Bureau sales figures by The Food Institute. Good news for the foodservice industry!
There are a number of factors contributing to the surge in eating away from home notes Brian Todd, Food Institute CEO. This includes the eating habits of the Millennial generation – generally those people born between 1980 and 2000 and now the largest segment of the population -- who tend to eat away from home more than other age groups.
“In our upcoming publication on the Demographics of Food Spending, we report that that Millenials spend an average $50.75 weekly per household for food consumed away from home - seven percent more than older baby boomers despite having overall expenditures 14 percent less than the older generation.”
Another is that lower gasoline prices have given consumers more expendable income for which to enjoy eating away from home more. “An average U.S. household is expected to spend $550 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014 according to the Department of Energy. So frequenting a restaurant an additional night each month, or not brown bagging it a couple days a week, has less of an impact on their weekly budgets than previously. And perhaps after several years of budget belt-tightening by consumers following the recession, they are more apt to splurge while doing so.”
So have we turned the corner, and are we heading towards spending more eating away from home than at home? We will not know for sure until we see what this data looks like in upcoming months, but either way, 2015 got off to a booming start for restaurateurs.