Food establishments are starting to get worried about a recent trend that is now appearing. The number of people going out and purchasing a lunch is dropping. A consumer group called NDP has data that shows lunch orders have fallen by up to 4% in a few months. Casual restaurants with speedy service such as Chipotles and Panera Bread show the biggest decline. These establishments saw a 7% decrease in lunchtime business.
Your typical restaurant with a waiter saw a drop of 6% in business for lunch. A number of issues are at play for explaining the reason why lunch business is dropping all across the board. As the number of people working from home increases, it is natural that there will be less dining out for lunch. People who work from home can easily cook a meal at home. They can also just microwave a meal or bake it in the oven.
Grocery deliveries now being offered by stores, Amazon and a company called Peapod. They are also eating into the restaurant lunch business. People can now get groceries far easier and faster, especially in cities. This further creates a dent in the restaurant business.
Prices of lunches have increases steadily over the years. A typical lunch that included a soup and sandwich or a hamburger and french fries used to cost around $5. Now this costs around $8 on average, if not more. The higher prices of lunch, are now making people think twice before they head to a restaurant for lunch.
As people look for ways to save money in a weak economy, many are also opting to pack their own lunches. Another trend, eating healthy food is causing some people to bring their own food as well. By packing or preparing your own lunch, you can control the ingredients being put in. This is popular among vegetarians and those who want to eat organic or all natural.
Scandals like the e-coli outbreak of Chipotles has also had a downward trend on lunch business. Interestingly, it seems that independent restaurants are less affected by the drop in lunch business. Some it seems, are unaffected. Chains like Chile though are seeing a drop. Independent restaurants could have a loyal following or serve high end customers. This makes them less likely to be affected by factors that affect the big chain restaurants.