Apr 14, 2023 - Economy

Restaurants top groceries: Americans are spending more on eating out

Monthly U.S. <span style="color:#ff7900;"> grocery</span>  and <span style="color:#15a0ff;">dining out</span> spending
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Americans are spending more money at restaurants than on groceries — and the gap has been widening.

By the numbers: People spent 20.7% more at restaurants than they spent on groceries in 2022 — and that figure rose to 29.5% in the first two months of the year, according to Commerce Department data compiled by JLL.

  • Put another way, consumers spent about $130 on dining out for every $100 they spent on groceries to start the year.

Restaurants enjoyed another strong month in March, too.

  • Restaurant spending rose 13% in March, compared with a year earlier, outpacing retail's overall 2.9% gain, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Where we've been: It wasn't long ago that Americans spent more on groceries than at restaurants, even when you ignore the pandemic.

  • Looking at the last 10 years, groceries topped restaurants in every month of 2013 and 2014 and into early 2015.

💭 Nathan's thought bubble: Inflation has been battering consumers on both fronts — restaurants and groceries — so people probably figure they won't save much money by eating at home.

  • So why not go out.
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