These days, dining out has become much more popular than it was when I was a kid. Step into any restaurant on any day of the week and it’s packed. In 2013, Franchise India did a survey to understand the percentage of people that dine out in the country and they found that 34% of the people eat out two to three times a week, while 27% eat once a week, about 11% eat three or more times a week, 12% eat once a month, 3% eat on special occasions, while 12% love to eat daily at a restaurant. In the three years since his survey was taken, the numbers have definitely gone up considerably and that’s not a bad thing, it’s just that the eating out culture in India has changed quite a bit.
And it’s not just lunch or dinner that we’re talking about, even going for tea or coffee and eating a snack while you’re there or hanging out with friends, because even that counts as eating out. Our grandparents – and maybe even our parents – had never done these kind of things when they were our age because the times have changed and now instead of just visiting the tea and coffee shop down the road from your house, you’re driving a few kilometers away to sit at a Starbucks and drink expensive coffee.
Why do we eat out more?
Food has changed a lot in the last year alone and that means that there are more restaurants and cafes opening up all the time. Every day, at least one new restaurant opens in each city, introducing a whole new kind of cuisine into our lives and how do we resist that? Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so new cuisines and interesting twists on what we’re familiar with make us want to go out and give it a shot.
After a long day of work, nobody wants to take the effort of piecing together a meal when you can have someone else do it for you. And since you’re already dressed to be seen in public, it’s just easier to go out and eat somewhere. Saves you the trouble of having to clean up, wash the dishes and you can even get to bed at a decent time.
Lots of people use dining out as a way to spend time together as a family. My parents used to do that, because it was the only way that all of us would be under the same roof, enjoying the company of each other and having a good time. And if everyone lives separately, going out for meals is the best way to bring everyone together.
Of course, the most important reason why people go out to eat is to try new things. A lot of people say that Indians are not adventurous when it comes to food, but I think they’re wrong. At least 40% of the population likes to try something new, we want to see what the rest of the world is eating and talking about, we want to experience a new cuisine and enjoy what the world has to offer.
Pros and Cons of Dining Out
Like they say, all good things have to come to an end. Dining out is great, but it’s also got it’s bad points and while more often than not we choose to ignore those things, it’s important to keep some of them in mind.
-. Saves you the trouble of cooking and cleaning up after. Like I said before, it’s not always fun to cook and clean and find time in the middle of it all to relax. Going out saves you the hassle.
-. If you don’t know how to cook, eating out is the best thing ever. Instead of burning everything you put on the fire, let someone else cook for you and give you the best treatment you could ask for.
-. Again, like we said, it’s great for family time. You don’t have to worry about making sure there’s place for everyone to sit, you just need to make a reservation for a table for a large number of people and everyone gets to sit back and enjoy.
-. The biggest issue that most people face with eating out is just how expensive it is. You can’t eat out every day and you probably can’t even eat out every other day, because while the food might be easy and it’s comfortable, your bank balance might not feel the same way.
-. It’s not always going to be the healthiest option for you. Processed food is a weakness for most and the methods and the ingredients they use aren’t always the best. Restaurant food also uses a lot more oil than you would at home, the same goes for sugar and salt.
-. Portion control is a big issue. Even if you’re ordering dishes for the whole table to share, it’s quite possible that it would still be quite a lot of food. Eating out means that you’re eating what the restaurant considers a normal portion, but at home that would technically be the amount that two people would eat.
-. Undercooked food has become a problem of late. Lots of restaurants have been getting complaints that certain pieces of chicken haven’t been cooked properly. This is not just unhealthy, but it’s terrible service and other than sending it back, what exactly are you going to do about your meal?