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If Americans aren’t buying “stuff” anymore, where is their money going?

(BUSINESS NEWS) For the first time, Americans have spent more annually on dining out than they have on groceries. If we’re not buying “stuff,” what are we buying?

Sweet home Chicago

This past summer, I set a goal for myself to become more familiar with the city of Chicago. Growing up in the suburban outskirts, I generally followed the leader on any trips downtown and somehow always managed to wind up where I needed to be.

But, as I venture into adulthood, I figure that it would be wise to know which streets run north and south and which train lines get you to where you need to be. I feel I was able to accomplish this goal in some respect, but also made sure to take in my surroundings when walking toward the lakefront.

Millennial madness

What I noticed on each of these jaunts were the amount of millennials hanging out in groups in restaurants. This was particularly prevalent on Sunday mornings (well, afternoons) when the #BrunchSquads would make their appearance.

While it’s no secret that going out to eat has always been a popular social activity, it seems that it has now become somewhat of a lifestyle. On most of my walks, I would always see these millennials taking photos of their meals, likely either for Snapchat or Instagram.

Dining out & grocery shopping

Apparently, the fact that millennials make going out to eat often as part of their lifestyle has aided in the fact that Americans officially spend more money on dining out than buying groceries.

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This is the first time this has happened since the Commerce Department began collecting data on the subject in 1992.

The National Restaurant Association has acknowledged that millennial diners have a different attitude about dining out than their parents did, stating that it has become a “social event.” With this information, it is still found that the Baby Boomer generation is content with cooking their meals at home.

Additional factor

But, while millennials may play a big role in why dining out numbers have surpassed grocery shopping, it is important to acknowledge other factors. As time goes on, Americans are more and more in need of convenience. As a result, cooking at home the majority of the time may go the way of the dinosaurs as more time is used on that process rather than just hitting the drive-thru.


Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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