Decline in Dual-Income Households Is A Major Drag on Restaurant Visitation and Spending, Study Shows

According to Restaurant DemandTracker, a recent survey of restaurant customers in the United States, those in households  with two full-time wage earners visit restaurants more often, and spend significantly more than those in households with only one full-time job and or where nobody has a full-time job.  Households with two full-time job-holders visit restaurants 5.8 times and spend $74 per week, on average. Households with only one full-time job-holder visit restaurants 5.2 times and spend $54 per week on average.   Households with only part-time job-holders visit restaurants 5.0 times and spend $41 per week, and households with no wage-earners at all visit restaurants 4.5 times and spend only $36 per week.

This lower level of restaurant patronage among households with a single full-time wage earner can be seen most dramatically in the Fine-Dining segment but all segments are negatively impacted.  Those consumers in households with a single-full-time job were 23% less likely than dual-income households to visit Fine-Dining restaurants regularly.   Consumers in households with a single full-time job were 17% less likely to regularly visit Casual-Dining restaurants, 16% less likely to regularly visit Fast-Casual restaurants, and 7% less likely to visit Quick-Service restaurants.

Households with no wage earners are even likely to visit restaurants regularly.  Those consumers in households with no wage earners were 37% less likely than dual-income households to visit Fine-Dining restaurants regularly, 34% less likely to visit Casual-Dining restaurants regularly, 30% less likely to visit Fast-Casual restaurants regularly, and 17% less likely to visit Quick-Service restaurants regularly.

“We have been able to confirm that the decline in labor force participation and dual-income households is in fact a major negative factor for restaurant visitation and especially spending,” said David Decker, President, Consumer Edge Insight.  “The Fine-Dining and segment is the most negatively affected, but all segments see substantially lower traffic among single-income households and households with no wage earners.  As long as this secular trend continues, this will continue to be a major headwind for the entire restaurant industry.”

Restaurant DemandTracker, a new syndicated consumer research service from Consumer Edge Insight, provides an in-depth analysis each quarter of how key economic and secular factors impact restaurant demand and which brands are best-positioned to succeed.  Data for the most recent Restaurant DemandTracker was collected in July 2012 via an online survey of over 3,100 US consumers, age 18 and over, designed and weighted to be representative of the US adult population that visit restaurants at least once per month.  Some of the topics covered include economic factors driving changes in restaurant patronage, impact of health trends on overall patronage and by segment, changing demographic profiles of restaurant segment users, and numerous brand performance metrics. The research covers the quick-service, fast-casual, casual-dining, and fine-dining, and pizza-takeout segments in detail.

Consumer Edge Insight LLC is a market research and consulting firm that helps investors and companies that want to have deeper insight into how consumer behavior is changing around the world and how to profit from those changes. We help companies monitor key trends and develop strategies to enhance shareholder value.

For further information, contact David Decker,, or visit