Yesterday’s Globe and Mail carried a column titled “As food costs skyrocket, the restaurant generation pays a hefty tab”, which wonders how we can afford to eat out so much:
We are the restaurant generation. Many of us have raised our kids to think that eating out in restaurants is no big deal, something you do, well, when you’re hungry. But in a rising tide of consumer debt, how can we all afford it? And more importantly, how will they continue to afford it once they’re on their own?
I’m surprised that the column didn’t mention (but the readers were quick to point out in the comments section) what is perhaps the biggest downside to eating out frequently – it can’t be very good for our health. CBC recently featured a story on the high calorie count (even in supposedly “healthier options” such as salads) in food from restaurant chains. Our propensity to eat out so much is perhaps one more contributor to our alarming obesity rates.
But, I’m not all that sure that eating out is as big a problem as the column makes it out to be. According to Statistics Canada, households spend an average of about $7,000 on food, including eating out in restaurants. If 30% of food expenses were spent in restaurants, it works out to $40 per week, which would suggest eating out at an average of once a week. Of course, the average experience doesn’t mean that frequent eating out isn’t a problem for some families.