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  • Writer's pictureTom Tran

The pandemic completely reversed American eating out trend

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

The 2020 pandemic disrupted the American eating out trend that lasted for decades.

In 2020, total Food Away From Home (eating out) spendings declined sharply and ended up below total Food At Home (eating in) spendings for the first time in more than a decade. FAH saw the highest jump in years. The effect was a lot larger than that of the Great Recession in 2008-2009. During the Great Recession, both FAFH and FAH spendings were slightly lower in 2009 compared to 2008.

American eating out trend

Among the major categories for both FAFH and FAH, the most affected was Full-service restaurants, declining approximately $83B compared to 2019 or 25%.

American eating out trend by category

Limited-service restaurants were also affected but not as significant, lower by $27B or only 7%. Grocery stores benefited the most from the pandemic, growing $56B or 12%.

Warehouse clubs and supercenters also saw a small lift. Hotels and motels and Recreational places also were severely affected, with each being more than 30% lower.

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