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November 6, 2022

Restaurants are packed again, but customers complain about high prices and erratic service. Is this a new normal? Here’s everything you need to know:

 What’s causing the change? 

The pandemic and its ongoing economic consequences have made eating out a more expensive and often less pleasant experience. COVID has been an unprecedented disaster for restaurants: Between 2020 and 2021, the industry laid off or laid off 8 million workers and lost $280 billion in sales. At least 90,000 eateries have closed. Those that survived had to adapt with outdoor dining and a greater reliance on takeout and delivery, which accounted for 90 percent of all restaurant meals sold in 2020. Vaccination, reduction of health risks and the lifting of some pandemic restrictions sent a flood. of diners back — even more than in the pre-COVID era, according to data from reservation platform OpenTable. But even though the $898 billion in restaurant sales projected for this year represents a $34 billion increase over 2019, 85 percent of owners say their business remains less profitable now than it was by 2020. In a May survey, 41 percent said they can’t pay rent The average price of commercially prepared meals rose 8.5 percent between September 2021 and September 2022. The price of a McDonald’s Big Mac broke $6 earlier this year, and for high-end burgers in major cities like New York, diners are paying more than 30 USD. (without chips or drink) before tax and drink. Diners also complained about shorter business hours, longer wait times and less attentive service. “The industry will probably never fully return to its pre-pandemic state,” said Hudson Riehle of the National Restaurant Association.

Why are so many restaurants struggling?

The costs of doing business soared. Overall, food prices have risen about 11 percent over the past year, and factors such as high energy prices, drought, the war in Ukraine and an ongoing outbreak of bird flu are driving the costs of some staples much higher. The USDA estimates that the price of cooking oil, butter and other fats will rise as much as 24 percent this year, and egg prices are expected to double. Availability of supplies and labor also grew unpredictable. Supply chains delayed or created shortages of needed ingredients for 96 percent of restaurant owners last year, forcing 6 in 10 full-service establishments to reduce menu options. And while the nation has regained 1.7 million food service jobs in 2021, 7 out of 10 restaurants don’t have enough workers.

Why not? 

Many frustrated, burned-out employees handed in their aprons. The quit rate in the lodging and food services sector topped 10 percent last December, and remains above 6 percent, Labor Department data show. The restaurant industry is still short about 500,000 workers, including waiters, cooks, and dishwashers. Restaurant work often involves physically demanding work for long, irregular hours and low pay in crowded spaces where COVID can easily spread. When their co-workers quit, those who remain face a vicious cycle: heavier workloads, pressure to take more hours, and even angrier customers grumbling about longer wait times. But workers also have more leverage to demand more livable wages, benefits, and a more generous sick leave policy. While those improvements increase costs for restaurant owners, some acknowledge it was an overdue reckoning across the industry. “Should we be so surprised that people are leaving,” former Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran said last year, “when mostly what we’re trying to do is manipulate them?”

How have restaurants coped?

Sixty percent have cut hours of operation, and 93 percent have raised or plan to raise menu prices. They offer smaller and fewer dishes, often sticking to those made with ingredients less likely to be affected by supply chain disruptions. More than half of restaurant owners have used cost-cutting technology, such as automated self-service kiosks and digital kitchen displays that replace physical order tickets. Digital QR code menus, popularized during the pandemic to reduce touching surfaces, are likely here to stay, largely because they let restaurants easily change the price of menu options or remove them entirely.

What else can diners expect? 

Customers who prefer takeout or delivery from fast food and budget restaurants may find themselves increasingly served by “ghost kitchens” without dining areas or storefronts. High-end restaurants, meanwhile, are looking for new revenue streams by charging reservations and launching subscription services. Dame, a celebrated New York seafood restaurant, asks diners to pay $1,000 a year for the privilege of being able to reserve a table once a week. Robotics startups are developing AI cooks, cleaners and servers, though steep up-front price tags and concerns about scaring away customers have slowed restaurants to adopt them. Higher prices, reduced portions and more lackluster service seem to be here for the foreseeable future. Diners “want to go back to the old days,” said Pittsburgh-area restaurant owner Ronald Sofranko. “They want to go out, they want to enjoy themselves. [But] they don’t smile as much as they used to.”

The decline in tips 

Faced with rising prices, American restaurant customers are becoming stingier spenders. Nearly a third in an August LendingTree survey said inflation has caused them to cut back on eating out. In effect, they are punishing the waiters for the increase in food prices. That stands in stark contrast to the sympathy diners felt for restaurant workers at the peak of the pandemic, when they were widely seen as “essential workers” who risked their health to make and deliver meals. The average tip at a quick service restaurant rose from 19.6 percent to 23.5 percent between March and April 2020. But now tips have fallen to pre-pandemic levels, and with all but eight states allowing “subminimum” wages for tipped workers, they’re feeling the pain. Chicago bartender Stacy Donohue earned fewer tips from two jobs this year than she used to earn from one. If things don’t change by January, she plans to leave the restaurant. “I don’t make the money I made,” she said. “I have to find another avenue.”

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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What percentage of income should go to eating out?

What is a reasonable food budget? Many financial advisors and gurus recommend spending no more than 10%-15% of take-home pay on food, a figure that includes restaurant and dining. By this measure, a couple with $70,000 in adjusted income should maintain an annual food budget in the $7,000 to $10,500 range.

How much money does the average person spend on eating out? How much do we spend eating out? The most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average American spends approximately $3,000 a year eating out.

What is the 50 30 20 budget rule? Key Takeaways. The rule states that you should spend up to 50% of your after-tax income on needs and obligations that you must have or do. The remaining half should be split between 20% savings and debt payment and 30% to anything else you might want.

What age group eats out the most?

In adults, eating out once a week or more was most common in the youngest age groups (19-29 years), with significantly more participants in that group (41.0%) eating out once a week or more than in other groups (20.1 %-27.6%) in unadjusted and reciprocally adjusted analyses.

Which generation eats out the most? Millennials Eat More – And Spend More When They Do – Than Non-Millennials. Millennials – that is, people born between 1980 and 2000 – eat out more than non-millennials and also spend more money eating out.

Which age group orders the most takeout? Young parents under 35 order the highest number of takeaways at 64 a year, equal to one every six days.

How often do normal people eat out?

7.19% eat out on average four days a week. Next, 15.65% eat out three days a week – whether it’s a shortened work week or a long weekend, we’re here for it. Let the celebration begin. A quarter of voters like to eat out: 25.08% eat out two days a week.

How often do you eat out too much? After adjusting for factors such as age, gender and body mass index, an analysis of the data found that compared to study subjects who ate meals prepared away from home less than once a week, those who ate out or ordered takeout ate twice a week on average. a day or more were 95 percent more likely to suffer an early death.

How many times a month does the average person eat out? The average American eats an average of 4.2 commercially prepared meals per week. In other words, as a nation, we eat out between four and five times a week, on average. This number equates to 18.2 meals in an average month eaten outside the home.

How often do people eat out 2022?

A January 2022 survey analyzed how often American consumers eat out at a restaurant. Overall, 29 percent of respondents claimed to eat out once a week or more. In contrast, 11 percent said they never eat out at restaurants.

Are people eating less in 2022? ATLANTA, Oct. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Despite rising food and energy prices and tighter budgets, American consumers continue to actively support local restaurants with 58% saying they are eating out more often this year compared to 2021.

How much does the average person eat out per year? Americans Spend an Average of $2,375 a Year on Dining and Take Out. 6 Tips to Spend Less. Many or all of the products here are from our partners who pay us a commission. That’s how we make money.

How many times a week is healthy to eat out?

If you really want to save money, Gidus recommends limiting yourself to once a week. But, she adds, “if you can get a good nutritious lunch from the deli next door, you can do it every day.†You can also make the most of your meals by saving leftovers and getting more meals. of them.

How often do you eat take out food? That said, Harbstreet recommends eating every four to five hours if you choose three large meals, and every two to three hours for six meals.

Is it healthy to eat out every day? Why Frequent Eating Out Affects Health. Researchers suggest that there is a relationship between eating out frequently and a shortened lifespan. In other words, if you eat out twice a day or more, you could be putting your health at risk.

Are millennials eating out less?

Millennials and older consumers consistently spend the most at restaurants, the survey finds; removing the expense, it follows that they would have more to save than other demographics.

Which age groups eat out the most? In adults, eating out once a week or more was most common in the youngest age groups (19–29 years), with significantly more participants in this group (41.0%) eating out once a week or more than in other groups. (20.1%-27.6%) in unadjusted and reciprocally adjusted analyses.

Are fewer people eating out? Per-person restaurant visits peaked at 216 in 2000 and have steadily declined since 2008. More Americans are focusing on healthy eating today, which is easier to control when meals are prepared at home. Here are some other factors that may be influencing these eating trends. A mature market.

What percent of millennials eat out?

The survey found that three times a week, 54 percent of younger millennials (ages 18 to 26) eat out and 30 percent buy coffee.

How often do millennials eat out? In fact, 72 percent of people with children at home spend on eating out at least once a week and 41 percent say they eat out more often than two years ago. Millennials also frequent food and beverage outlets, as 72 percent go out at least once a week.

Do millennials eat out a lot? Not only do millennials — that is, people born between 1980 and 2000 — eat out more than non-millennials, but they also spend more money eating out: Millennials spend about $174 a month dining out, on average, according to a new infographic from marketing agency Restaurant Marketing Labs, while…

When did eating out become common?

Restaurants were typically located in populous urban areas during the 19th century and grew in both number and sophistication in the mid-century due to a wealthier middle class and to urbanization.

When did eating at restaurants become popular? Beginning in late 18th century Europe, the dining experience changed considerably, with the first modern restaurants opening in urban areas and catering to wealthy patrons. In the middle of the 20th century, the availability of cheaper fast food restaurants allowed many more people to eat out.

When did eating out become a thing? According to Elliott Shore and Katie Rawson, co-authors of Dining Out: A Global History of Restaurants, the very first establishments that were easily recognizable as restaurants appeared around 1100 AD. in China, when cities like Kaifeng and Hangzhou boasted densely packed urban populations. of more than 1 million…

When did Americans start eating out? As Americans began to travel more often, places like train stations or tourist spots also offered fast food options. The 1920s brought the first draft elections. Some restaurants began to sell sandwiches, hot dogs, or hamburgers meant for picnickers or eaters otherwise on the go.

Who invented eating out?

Legend has it that a soup vendor named Boulanger opened the first modern restaurant 250 years ago in Paris.

Where did the idea for a restaurant come from? The public dining room that eventually became known as the restaurant originated in France, and the French continued to make important contributions to the development of the restaurant. The first restaurant owner was probably one A. Boulanger, a soup seller, who opened his business in Paris in 1765.

Why do we eat out? Going out to dinner gives you the opportunity to interact and be social outside of your home and workplace. This type of downtime is so critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s nice to laugh, flirt and really enjoy others while you forget about your many stressors.

What people are cutting back on?

73% of US households cut back on restaurants/takeout, 63% on consumer spending, 62% on social spending, 57% on groceries, 54% on vacations, 44% on gas and 35% on debt payments.

Are people cutting back on spending? But Americans aren’t just giving up non-essential spending. While 18 percent of respondents said they skipped paying bills such as rent, credit card payments or medical expenses, that number jumps to more than 25 percent for households that make less than $50,000 annually.

Are people spending less this year? Consumers Are Saving More and Paying Down Debt Everything from Netflix subscriptions to home shopping activity has weakened. The Forbes Advisor-Ipsos survey found that consumers are, in fact, curbing their spending.

Are people struggling because of inflation? 66% of American workers are financially worse off than a year ago due to inflation, reports. As the cost of living continues to rise, more Americans are struggling financially. Now, two-thirds of adults say they are worse off than they were just a year ago, according to a recent report.

What are people cutting back on during inflation?

While Americans wait to see how the rest of the year will play out inflationarily, it’s not a bad idea to keep cutting back on spending in the meantime. Consider the spending categories that experts cut, such as groceries, dining out, gas, self-care, entertainment and travel.

How are people doing with inflation? With inflation running at 8.6 percent, its fastest rate in 40 years, people are balking at the rising cost of everything from groceries to gas. In May 2021, the average price of a dozen large eggs was $1.60. A year later, it was $2.80 – an increase of 75 percent. Ground beef is up 13 percent per pound.

What to cut during inflation? As you work to budget for inflation, here are eight important things to consider.

  • Streamline Your Mortgage Costs. …
  • Reduce Rates on Other Debts. …
  • Complete an Energy Audit. …
  • Save on Car Insurance. …
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions and Fees. …
  • Shop Smarter at the Grocery Store. …
  • Make room in your budget for investment.