Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NRA releases new report on consumer spending

The National Restaurant Association this week released a new edition of its Consumer Spending in Restaurants report – an analysis of spending on food away from home by demographic groups. Last published in 2009, the report can help restaurant operators strategically plan their menus, services and marketing programs to build and maintain sales.

“Looking at demographics is extremely important for restaurant operators. One primary influencer on spending is income, in that the more cash-on-hand consumers have, the more they are likely to spend dining out,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research & Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Our report breaks down income levels and other important factors to show how spending on food away from home can vary significantly according to household traits and composition.”

“For example, households with annual income above $70,000 comprise a third of all households but account for 56 percent of total spending on food away from home. And, young adults who have not yet reached their peak earning years spend less dining out when counting dollars, but a higher proportion of their total food budget compared with families with children,” Riehle said. 

According to the report, average household spending in restaurants was $2,678 in 2012 (or $1,071 per person), an increase of 2.2 percent over the previous year. Broken down by region, the Northeast and the West outspent the Midwest and the South. Breaking it down further by major U.S. city, Washington, D.C. led the nation both in levels of spending and proportion of total food budget spent in restaurants.

Based on 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Consumer Spending in Restaurantsbreaks down spending patterns by household income, age of household head, household size and composition, ethnicity, number of household earners and occupation. In addition, it breaks the information down by region, as well as Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in each region.

As with all the NRA’s research publications, NRA members receive a 50 percent discount. For details, visit

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