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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Where People Rely on Restaurants the Most in the U.S.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The restaurant industry is in dire straits now that states across the country have implemented stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of COVID-19. The National Restaurant Association reports that the industry has already lost 8 million in jobs and $80 billion in sales with more to come.

Before the pandemic, people were visiting restaurants often. Americans typically ate out 5.9 times per week on average in 2018. The restaurant industry projected $899 billion in sales for 2020, up 4% from last year, compared with the $678.4 billion projected for 2020 supermarket revenue. From 2013 to 2018, the average household budget for “food away from home” increased by 32%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

That upward trend of dining out has lost its trajectory, and it’s unclear when customer-facing businesses will be able to safely reopen. Not only do owners and workers suffer when restaurant doors close — people who rely on restaurants may face limited food options. Dining out is a form of entertainment or social pastime for many people, but others may eat at restaurants out of necessity because they have access to fewer grocery stores.

LendingTree decided to take a look at the places with the highest concentration of restaurants relative to grocery stores to uncover which locations are most dependent on restaurants. Using Census Bureau data on restaurants, grocery stores and their respective payrolls, we measured the prevalence of two top ways of getting food — grocery shopping versus eating out at restaurants.

Key findings

  • People spend the most at restaurants compared with grocery stores in Nashville. This Tennessee city had the highest payroll ratio of restaurants relative to grocery stores. In total, restaurants had payrolls six times higher than grocery stores.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich., took second place. The metrowide payroll for restaurants in Grand Rapids was 5.4 times that of grocery stores.
  • Rounding out the top three was El Paso, Texas. Payroll at restaurants was just over five times that of grocery stores.
  • On the other end of the scale was Allentown, Pa., Springfield, Mass., and Scranton, Pa. Restaurants in these three metro areas had payrolls just 1.56 to 1.64, to 1.76 times that of local grocery stores, respectively.
  • In general, cities tend to have a lot more restaurants than grocery stores, which is what you would expect. However, there are large differences from one city to the next. New York, for example, a place that is well-known for its restaurants, actually has the smallest parity between its number of restaurants and grocery stores — there are 3.4 times as many restaurants as grocery stores. Albuquerque, on the other hand, has 14.2 times as many restaurants as grocery stores. One reason there are more grocery stores than restaurants in larger cities is that grocery stores benefit from larger economies — supermarkets can expand to offer more items at a cheaper price thanks to sophisticated supply chains, whereas restaurants operating on slim margins can grow only so much without significantly increasing costs.
  • Restaurants also tend to be bigger economic drivers for cities. No city analyzed had grocery stores with a higher payroll than restaurants.

Places that rely on restaurants the most

Places where people spend the most at restaurants compared with grocery stores

Time to ditch that restaurant rewards card? Not so fast

Don’t ditch that rewards card yet — restaurants may be closed for dining in, but many have resorted to offering delivery or pickup options.

With that said, you should make sure before you order that the business sticks to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health guidelines, such as staying the appropriate distance away from you when delivering. If there’s been an uptick in how often you order takeout while hunkering down at home, don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn cash back.

Several cards can help you rack up rewards for dining out, and the dining out category usually includes takeout, as long as the restaurant’s primary business is eat-in dining, and it uses a restaurant merchant code for the transaction.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, rewards 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Each point equals one cent when you redeem for cash.

Even though you may be unable to travel for leisure or business at the moment, your hotel card can still come useful for dining rewards.

  • With the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card.
  • With the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Even if you do eat takeout once or twice a week, eating out may still not be a big-budget item right now. In this case, look to see if one of the rewards cards in your wallet can help you offset your grocery spending instead.

| Disclosures
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
$95
5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


| Disclosures
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
on Chase's secure site
N/A
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
$550
5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals
  • New Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Top cashback cards for grocery spending

Due to stay-at-home guidelines, you may be spending more on groceries than ever before. Cashback credit cards can give you money back when you make large grocery hauls, and you can use the cash back as statement credits.

Here are our top picks:

For stocking up: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

| Disclosures
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
0% on purchases for 12 months
16.24%-26.24% Variable
$95
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 16.24% to 26.24%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
720 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more), 1% Cash Back on other purchases. Terms apply. This is one of the highest grocery cashback offers around. The card has a $95 annual fee, but you’ll easily earn enough to cover the fee if you spend about $1,600 per year in the highest cashback rate category. Any additional cash back you receive will be profit.

Warehouse and superstore spending is excluded from the higher rate cashback offer. On the bright side, you also earn the higher rate on streaming services, which can come in handy if you decide to sign up for several now that you’re spending more time at home.

To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please click here.

For no annual fee: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

| Disclosures
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
0% on purchases for 15 months
16.24%-27.24% Variable
$0
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 16.24% to 27.24% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • New! 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Get $7 back each month after using your Blue Cash Everyday® Card to spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
720 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. New cardholders can earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express please click here.

For warehouse shopping: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Sam's Club Mastercard

Neither card above gives you bonus cash back for spending at superstores or warehouses. Consider adding one of these two cards to your wallet instead.

  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases. Cashback rewards come in one annual rewards certificate at the end of February. You can redeem rewards for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses.
  • Sam's Club Mastercard: Earn 5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1%), 3% back on dining and travel, 1% back on other purchases. Cash back is loaded to your Sam’s Club membership and can only be used in-store or at SamsClub.com.

Bottom line

For many, dining out is a sorely missed activity. Restaurants are forced to change how they do business in response to the pandemic, and, sadly, that means many are losing jobs. If you are able to support restaurants still operating, check to see what rewards you can earn on your rewards credit cards for that spending.

Since grocery hauls may take up a larger portion of your budget these days, consider using grocery rewards cards offering cash back to lower your bill. Cash back earned can usually be applied as a statement credit or be put toward future purchases.

Data and methodology

To find the places most dependent on restaurants, researchers looked at data on the number of restaurants and grocery stores in the largest 100 cities. Specifically, we compared the number of restaurants with the number of grocery stores, and ranked them from highest to lowest using that metric. Since grocery stores can vary in size by city, we also compared the total payroll at grocery stores and restaurants, and ranked using that metric as well. Data comes from the Census Bureau and is from 2017.

To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please click here.

To see rates & fees for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express please click here.

Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

The information related to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, & Sam's Club Mastercard has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.