Survey Reveals How Many People Prefer Local Restaurants Over Chains

Dipping fries in a Wendy's Frosty and ordering the Bourbon Street Steak with an Oreo shake at Applebee's may be some of the catchy lyrics in Walker Hayes' song, "Fancy Like," but an April 2022 survey shows that many people prefer their local restaurants over national chains like those sung about in this hit song. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spent $799 billion at restaurants in 2021 and these restaurants also employed 14.5 million workers. Along with the "shop local" movement, more people began to eat locally, supporting area restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks. While it feels good to support local dining establishments, there are many other reasons to do so. Some of these reasons may include supporting the local economy as well as less travel for both the diner and the ingredients used by the restaurant.

When it comes to the economy, eating or shopping at local businesses can have a big impact. It is estimated by the Small Business Administration that when a shopper spends $100 at a local business, $48, or 48%, of that returns to the local economy. Through its Shop Small Consumer Impact Survey, American Express learned that when consumers are aware that when they spend money locally and that a significant percentage stays in the community, they are 75% more likely to purchase a product or service from a small and independently-owned businesses. 

Eating at local restaurants preferred

Whether it's to support the local economy or just because diners prefer the food offered at locally owned restaurants, 64% of diners actively chose to eat at local restaurants versus chain restaurants according to an April 2022 survey performed by Next.

There were several reasons given as to why people chose to eat at locally-owned restaurants versus going to chain establishments. According to the survey, the reasons were to support local businesses (87%), better food (71%), the food's flavors were considered by patrons to be more delicious or interesting (70%), they liked the atmosphere (69%), and that they knew employees at the restaurant (69%).

Going to large restaurant chains for food has been declining, according to a story by Insider in 2016. Insider reported that diners were opting more for local restaurants and smaller chains, such as Shake Shack, versus large chains, including Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory. 

Whether you feel like dipping your fries in a Frosty or biting into an artisan sandwich made from locally-raised beef, locally-owned restaurants are the preferred choice to satisfy your food cravings.