How Much do Americans Spend on Eating out?

The average American household spends almost half of its food budget on eating out — out of about $6,000 US Dollars (USD) spent on food a year, about $2,700 USD goes to eating out. Alcoholic beverages alone contribute almost $500 USD to that budget.

More about eating out:

  • More than 75 percent of Americans eat out at least once a week, and a full fourth eat out every two to three days. Some studies suggest that, on average, Americans actually eat one out of every four meals and snacks outside of the home.

  • Atlanta seems to be the top city for eating out — residents of Atlanta spend about 60 percent of their food budget on eating out. Those in Austin, Texas, spend the most money on food purely in terms of dollar amount, though — they spend almost $13,000 USD a year on food, pretty much equally distributed between eating out and eating at home.

  • The most frugal cities in the U.S. when it comes to eating out are Detroit and Chula Vista, California. Those in Florida City spend the biggest portion of their budget on home food — about 70 percent.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Americans typically spend on eating out?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of their 2019 report, the average American household spends about $3,526 per year on dining out. This figure represents a significant portion of the overall food budget, indicating the importance of restaurants and takeout in the daily lives of many individuals. It's worth noting that this number may fluctuate based on economic conditions and changing consumer habits.

Has there been an increase in spending on eating out in recent years?

Yes, there has been an upward trend in spending on eating out over the years. Prior to the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association reported a steady increase in restaurant sales, reaching $863 billion in 2019, which was up 4% from the previous year. This trend reflects changing lifestyles that favor convenience and the experience of dining out over cooking at home.

What percentage of their food budget do Americans spend on eating out?

Americans allocate a significant portion of their food budget to eating out. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2019, the average household spent approximately 44% of their total food dollars on restaurants and takeaways. This highlights the cultural shift towards valuing the convenience and social aspects of dining out over traditional home-cooked meals.

Do demographics play a role in how much Americans spend on eating out?

Demographics indeed play a role in dining out expenditures. Younger generations, like Millennials and Gen Z, tend to spend more on eating out compared to older generations. Additionally, income levels and urban versus rural living can also influence spending habits, with higher-income households and urban residents typically spending more on restaurants and takeaways.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected American spending on eating out?

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted American spending on eating out, with many restaurants closing or shifting to takeout and delivery models. According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, the industry lost $240 billion in sales in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic forecasts. However, as restrictions have eased, there's been a resurgence in dining out, though the long-term effects on consumer behavior remain to be seen.

More Info:

Discussion Comments


This is why almost 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. It’s not being too busy, it’s being too lazy. I love hearing how busy people’s lives are, so now it’s my turn. I work full time, am working on my masters in nursing full time, go to the gym 6 days a week for an hour each day, cook dinner at home from scratch every night, and still have time to raise my family and play outside with my kids. And guess what? Not one person in my household is overweight.


In this day and age, where we're so busy that we don't have time for even our friends and family, it's understandable that so many people prefer to dine out. Food shopping can take hours, and home cooked meals can be very time consuming. By dining out often, not only is everything served to us, but we're not losing any time. After all, we can always order takeout, right?


Even if I could eat out all the time, I think I would prefer not to, as doing so can be rather expensive. Sure, it may not seem like it costs a lot at first, but it adds up pretty fast. I especially noticed this to be the case when I'm dining with my family, and we share the same bill. However, I think it's more understandable for someone to dine out on a regular basis if they live by themselves. As an example, my next door neighbor, (who has no husband or kids) is always going out for dinner.


Generally speaking, I've always felt that people ate out too much. Yes, the food is good, but it all tastes the same. None of the restaurants stand out anymore. Take Fridays and Chili's for example. Have you noticed that they serve smaller portions?

Post your comments
Forgot password?