By Phil Izzo
$6.23: The average check per diner in food-service establishments in the U.S.
Americans spend less per visit to restaurants than most other major industrialized countries, according to data compiled by market research firm NPD Group.
The average check size at a food service establishment is just $6.23 per person in the U.S., according to NDP’s data. That’s less than Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain and the U.K. Of the countries tracked, France and Japan have the highest average check size — both over $9.
Looking at the disparity, it’s hard to ignore the correlation with obesity statistics. According to data compiled by the National Obesity Observatory, the U.S. obesity rate, at 33.8%, is the highest in the world, while Japan at 3.4% is the lowest and France at 11.2% is also relatively low.
Does that mean that Americans are spending all their money at cheap fast-food joints and packing on the pounds? Not necessarily. First of all, food is generally just cheaper in the U.S. than it is in other industrialized countries, and not just unhealthy food. Our large agricultural base plays a role in that.
But it’s also a difference in what we buy at food-service establishments. Italians, who at 9.9% have a lower obesity rate than France, spend even less per visit to restaurants than Americans do — just $5.95 per check. Like Americans, Italians frequently buy cheaper meals such as breakfast outside the home. When a lot of meals are just an espresso and a roll, it brings down the average check size.