Restaurant visits have reportedly dropped to a 28-year low

Illustration for article titled Restaurant visits have reportedly dropped to a 28-year low
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Hot LinksHot LinksWe spend way too much time on the internet

Don’t get around much anymore? You’re not alone, apparently. Bloomberg reports today that “due to the convenience of Netflix, the advent of pre-made meals, the spread of online grocery delivery, plus crushing student debt and a focus on healthy eating,” more Americans are eating at home.


While some fast-food outlets have enjoyed increased sales, Bloomberg states that these surges are due to higher prices, not more traffic. Instead, according to research firm NPD Group, 82 percent of American meals are prepared at home, “more than were cooked 10 years ago.” Bloomberg also points to handy appliances like the Insta-Pot, discount grocery stores like Aldi, and meal kits from restaurants like Chick-Fil-A as aiding the domestic diner.

A handy NPD Group graphic displays the number of restaurant meals per capita: The current annual average stands at 185. The last time the number was that low was in 1990. The most recent peak arrived in 1999-2000, with 215 meals out per year, followed by a fairly solid decline ever since. Maybe more fast-food companies would be wise to invest in at-home meals right now, as we all hibernate and bond with our microwaves. And Netflix will hopefully keep cranking out enough series and movies for binge-watching while feasting.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


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I think part of it is that grocery stores have gotten so much better. I remember in the 90s having to search an entire city just to find the ingredients to make tiramisu. Now, I live in a small town, but I could get the ingredients in my neighborhood store.

Despite talk of convenience, going out to eat takes a lot of time.  We have turned into better cooks because of TV and the internet.  Unless I am travelling, I rarely eat out because I can make food that is just as good at home for less money.