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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

How LendingTree Gets 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.

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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 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Each point equals one cent when you redeem for cash.
  • The Uber Visa Card offers 5% back in Uber Cash on Uber rides, Uber Eats, and JUMP, 3% in Uber Cash on restaurants, bars, hotels, and airfare, and 1% back in Uber Cash on all other purchases. Uber Cash can be redeemed for rides and Uber Eats.

Disclosures |
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
on Chase's secure site
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 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.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
750 850

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear 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
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X
  • 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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 for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • 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 appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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.

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
13.99%-23.99% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back.
  • Plus, earn $150 back after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • 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.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 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 appear 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 $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $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
13.99%-23.99% Variable
$0
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card membership, up to $150 back.
  • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months of card membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
  • No 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 appear 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%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. That doesn’t include superstores and warehouses. New cardholders can earn a

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.

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

The information related to the Uber Visa Card, 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 issuer of these cards prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.