Dining Out Down

Rasmussen: Americans eating out less than they were six months ago

ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 47% of American adults say they are going out to eat less often than they were six months ago. While that finding shows little change from January, it is down 10 points from November 2008. Only 10% say they are dining out more often compared to six months ago, while 43% say their trips to a restaurant are about the same as before.[image-nocss]

An overwhelming majority (72%) say they enjoy a good home-cooked meal more than one at a fine restaurant; 24% like restaurant fare better. These findings show little change since October 2009.

Just over half (52%) of Americans say, in a typical week, they sit down with their family members for dinner more than three times. That finding is up 14 points from October 2009. And 22% say they dine with the family two or three times a week, while 18% do so rarely or never; 7% eat with their family just once a week.

Also, 47% Americans say, in a typical week, they go out to a restaurant for dinner rarely or never, while 32% do so once a week; 18% dine out two or three times a week; 2% eat out at restaurants more than three times a week. These findings show little change since 2008.

But while most Americans are not going out often for dinner, 87% say they are at least somewhat satisfied with the service they get when they go to a restaurant. Just 9% are not satisfied. These figures include 35% who are very satisfied with their restaurant service and only 2% who are not at all satisfied.

When out at a restaurant, a plurality of adults (43%) consider 15% a standard tip for a waiter; 25% believe 10% is enough, while 22% say 20% is about right; 8% think less than 10% is normal. These findings, too, show little change for years now.

Americans ages 18 to 29 are more likely to be eating out more than their elders.

A majority of those making under $75,000 annually are dining out less often than they were six months ago, while half of wealthier Americans are eating out about the same number of times as before.

Slightly more men than women enjoy a good home-cooked meal over one from a restaurant. But 15% of men are dining out more often than six months ago, compared to just 5% of women.

When they do eat out: Pizza. American pizza-eaters rate Pizza Hut No. 1 among pizza chains, closely followed by Papa John's. But nearly one out of five adults say they rarely or never eat pizza no matter who makes it. Hamburgers. In a showdown among the top three fast-food hamburger chains, Americans prefer Wendy's over McDonald's and Burger King. Coffee. When it comes to coffee, 23% of coffee drinkers say they are more likely to buy it from Starbucks, while 22% each opt for either a convenience store or a local coffee shop; 14% get their coffee from Dunkin' Donuts; and 15% say they purchase it somewhere else. Frozen treats. When it comes to frozen treats, 23% of adults who eat ice cream at least occasionally say vanilla is the best, while the same number (23%) prefers chocolate.