Majority of Americans Consider Fast Food a Luxury

( – Fast food was invented in ancient Rome, but the US perfected it and made it a major part of our culture. For decades, it has been seen as a cheap and easy alternative to cooking, a way to enjoy a meal after a long day without having to make one yourself. That’s all changed, though. Now, as the Biden administration’s cost of living crisis continues, Americans see fast food as a luxury.

On May 20, loan specialist LendingTree published the results of a new survey on fast food. It shows that attitudes toward takeout restaurants have changed dramatically over the last few years. The survey found that three-quarters of Americans eat fast food at least once a week, but 62% have now cut back on how often they buy it because it’s getting more expensive. Sixty-five percent said they were shocked by how much fast food prices have risen in the last six months.

Now, people don’t think takeout meals are a cheap option. Overall 78% say fast food has become a luxury — and half specifically say it’s a luxury for them because of their own financial situation. Low earners, parents, young adults, and women are most likely to say this.

Instead of heading for the drive-through, 56% of Americans now say that if they want a cheap meal they’ll cook one at home — even though 67% think fast food should be cheaper than home-cooked.

It’s easy to see why Americans are going off takeout. The fast food industry’s prices have been rising faster than the general inflation rate for a decade, forced up by minimum wage laws that increase labor costs. The industry has also traditionally been a way to buy a meal without the added expense of US tipping culture, but that’s changing; 44% of survey respondents said they’d been asked to tip at a fast food restaurant in the last six months (and 43% said they’d refused).

Americans used to like fast food because it was cheap; now that prices are coming closer to a meal in a proper restaurant, attitudes are changing fast.

Copyright 2024,