Nearly 163 million people, 64 percent of adults, spend on dining at least once a week, according to a recent ICSC survey. With an average weekly spend of $71, dining expenditure exceeds $602 billion a year. Almost 50 percent of adults say that dining out is an essential part of their lifestyle.

“Dining options have grown significantly in recent years as Millennials seek experiences and Baby Boomers become empty nesters,” says Tom McGee, ICSC President and CEO. “In the last five years, the sector has added over one million jobs and increased its share of GLA by 1.3 percentage points.”

The survey found that the top reason for dining out is convenience. Busy consumers are looking for ways to save time and energy. In fact, 72 percent of people with children at home spend on dining at least once a week and 41 percent say they are dining out more often than two years ago. Millennials, too, are frequenting food and beverage establishments as 72 percent go out at least once a week.

What this convenience looks like varies from person-to-person. Consumers are taking advantage of the variety of dining services available to them, depending on what their needs are at any given time. In an average week, 83 percent of adults dine at fast food and fast casual restaurants. Others prefer the convenience of utilizing takeout or delivery services (67 percent) and 41 percent who order online use curbside pick-up. Moreover, a third of adults noted that they are taking advantage of those options more often today than they were two years ago.

Even with the increased demand for convenience, 67 percent of people continue to dine at full-service restaurants weekly. And, over 60 percent of consumers said that, despite ordering delivery/takeout more frequently, they aren’t going to physical restaurants any less often.

For those who patronize dining establishments in shopping centers, 76 percent also shop at retail stores and 45 percent see a movie. For these people, convenience also means the proximity to other appealing errands and activities.

Consumer Trends, News