Table 1240 measures “adult participation in leisure activities by frequency”. In 2010, 49.3 percent of Americans surveyed claimed “dining out” was among one of their activities during the previous 12 months.
But dining out actually led the list of activities and was higher than entertaining friends and relatives at home which ranked in at 38.2 percent.
Barbecuing and baking rated relatively high coming in at 34.7 and 25.3 respectively, but still, considering these are activities people participated in within the last 12 months, that means only 34 percent of the population surveyed barbecued within a year, and 25 percent baked.
A trifling 6.9 percent surveyed said they dined out once a month; approximately 2 in 10 people (19 percent) reported going out to a bar or nightclub in the past 12 months. And a meager 22 percent reported cooking for fun in the last year.
Raskin notes the 49.3 percent figure falls far short of the numbers circulated by a LivingSocial “Dining Out” survey conducted among 4,000 online Americans by Mandala Research.
The survey suggests the average American eats 4.8 meals per week in restaurants or 249 total restaurant meals per year, for both dining in and carry out.
Raskin claims a National Restaurant Association spokesperson attributes the discrepancy to respondents’ understanding of the term “dining out”.
“Visiting quick-service restaurants may not be classified as “dining out” in consumers’ minds, while in fact it is,” Annika Stensson says.
But the National Restaurant Association includes corner sandwich shops and fast-food restaurants in its “dining out” tally.
And according to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index, a monthly composite index that tracks the outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry, August marked the second consecutive month that the index contracted in key industry indicators.
Additionally, restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic for the first time in three months. Forty two percent of operators reported a traffic decline in August, up from 37 percent who reported lower traffic in July.
Despite Stensson’s attempt at hopium, many restaurants are fighting for their life to stay alive, with the exception of anomalies like McDonald’s.
In early October, Friendly’s closed 63 of its restaurants, laid off 1,260 employees, and filed for bankruptcy. The layoffs represent more than 12% of the company’s 10,300 person workforce. Bloomberg Industries reported alcohol consumption has declined at both restaurants and bars.
And Yum Brands — Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC chains — reported across-the-board sales declines in the U.S.
Ruby Tuesday experienced a 75% drop in profits in the first-quarter and the chain’s same-store sales continue to decline; Ruby’s lowered its earnings forecast for the year, and same-store sales fell 4.1% at company-owned locations in the fiscal first quarter.
First quarter earnings also dropped for the Olive Garden chain, sliding by nearly six percent.
More bad news was also reported in The Wall Street Journal: Real Mex Restaurants Inc., the operator of Chevys Fresh Mex and other Mexican restaurants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection and said it plans to sell its assets after failing to strike a deal to restructure its debt obligations.
Other struggling restaurant chains that filed for bankruptcy protection this year include Sbarro Inc., Perkins, and Marie Callender’s.