The Gory Details of Eating Out 217 Times in 2012


“Money is something we choose to trade our life energy for.”
– Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, Your Money or Your Life

I’m making an honest review of my spending habits. Not as an exercise in self-punishment, but as an opportunity to see how I can get more happiness while giving up equal or fewer units of life energy.

As a habitual (bordering on compulsive) eater-out, it seemed right to re-visit every one of my restaurant transactions in 2012.

Here’s a summary table, broken down by the quality of the food and experience:

2012 Meals Out Broken Down By Quality and Cost
RatingMealsDollars
Gross45$579
Meh27$447.76
Tasty118$1568.8
Delicious27$1105.41
Totals217$3700.97

Yes, I ate out a lot.

Because full confession is supposed to be cathartic, I present you with the complete, gory transactional details:

(Scan past the table to see what I learned from the analysis.)

DateRestaurantAmountRating
1/2/12Rubios$10.08Tasty
1/6/12Five Guys$26.46Tasty
1/8/12NYPD Pizzeria$35.81Meh
1/11/12In n Out Burger$16.49Tasty
1/14/12Jimmy John’s$8.66Tasty
1/14/12Papa John’s$16.70Meh
1/14/12Scaddy Time$7.52Gross
1/16/12Thai House Cuisine$19.40Tasty
1/17/12Jimmy John’s$10.76Tasty
1/18/12Kneaders$3.23Gross
1/19/12Barbacoa$14.09Meh
1/20/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$5.39Gross
1/21/12Cafe Rio$18.05Tasty
1/21/12Coldstone$13.53Tasty
1/21/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$11.04Gross
1/26/12In n Out Burger$14.92Tasty
1/28/12Chick-fil-a$22.69Tasty
1/28/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$5.37Gross
1/31/12Ichiban$46.53Delicious
1/31/12Settebello$8Delicious
2/1/12Jimmy John’s$17.70Tasty
2/3/12Cafe Zupas$10.43Meh
2/3/12Settebello$36.20Delicious
2/3/12Settebello$8.99Delicious
2/4/12Kneaders$19.82Gross
2/10/12Chick-fil-a$15.96Tasty
2/14/12Thai Village$29.70Delicious
2/15/12Biaggi’s$37.22Meh
2/18/12In n Out Burger$6.43Tasty
2/18/12Settebello$13Delicious
2/19/12Rumbi Island Grill$28.07Gross
2/20/12The Downtown Philly$7.96Tasty
2/21/12Chick-fil-a$16.39Tasty
2/21/12Chick-fil-a$14.49Tasty
2/21/12Little Caesars$7.10Gross
2/22/12In n Out Burger$14.32Tasty
2/24/12Jimmy John’s$22.87Tasty
2/24/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$4.20Gross
2/25/12Carl’s Jr$6.45Gross
2/25/12Subway$4.24Gross
2/26/12Benja Thai and Sushi$26.27Delicious
3/17/12Bombay House$43Delicious
3/20/12Goodwood Barbecue$11.70Tasty
3/22/12Leger’s Deli$8.26Meh
3/23/12George’s Gyros and Burger$18.15Tasty
3/24/12In n Out Burger$17.74Tasty
3/26/12Settebello$21.44Delicious
3/27/12Chili’s$61.88Gross
3/30/12Ichiban$59.37Delicious
3/30/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$14.30Gross
3/31/12Jimmy John’s$11.48Tasty
4/2/12Rumbi Island Grill$23.86Gross
4/3/12Chick-fil-a$14.20Tasty
4/6/12In n Out Burger$14.92Tasty
4/7/12Cafe Rio$16.72Tasty
4/7/12Pizzeria Seven Twelve$43.03Delicious
4/10/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$4.20Gross
4/11/12Chick-fil-a$21.24Tasty
4/12/12Culver’s$5.04Tasty
4/14/12Culver’s$7.09Tasty
4/14/12Jimmy John’s$11.48Tasty
4/14/12Pizzeria Seven Twelve$58.35Delicious
4/16/12Barbacoa$18.28Meh
4/17/12Thai House Cuisine$19.40Tasty
4/18/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$7.84Gross
4/18/12Jimmy John’s$11.48Tasty
4/19/12Scaddy Time$10.60Gross
4/20/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$13.98Gross
4/20/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$4.62Gross
4/21/12Ichiban$66.24Delicious
4/24/12Chick-fil-a$23.06Tasty
4/25/12Thai House Cuisine$19.40Tasty
4/25/12Thanksgiving Point$6.73Meh
4/25/12Thanksgiving Point$14.82Meh
4/27/12Pizzeria Seven Twelve$56.35Delicious
5/12/12Communal$9.54Delicious
5/12/12El Gallo Giro$27.45Tasty
5/14/12Thanksgiving Point$37.52Meh
5/16/12Jimmy John’s$17.40Tasty
5/17/12IHOP$26.99Gross
5/19/12Communal$153.14Delicious
6/2/12Red Robin$28.67Tasty
6/4/12Baskin Robbins$3.48Meh
6/4/12Stan’s Burger Shack$9.08Tasty
6/8/12Stan’s Burger Shack$9.99Tasty
6/13/12Cafe DeJeuner$15.50Meh
6/19/12In n Out Burger$4.29Tasty
6/22/12Thanksgiving Point$36.79Meh
7/19/12BWW$12.66Meh
7/19/12In n Out Burger$13.47Tasty
7/20/12Jimmy John’s$7.38Tasty
7/21/12Black Sheep Cafe$49.17Meh
7/23/12Cafe Rio$13.20Tasty
7/25/12Chick-fil-a$18.35Tasty
7/25/12Culver’s$13.63Tasty
7/26/12Little Caesars$10.78Gross
7/28/12In n Out Burger$12.45Tasty
7/31/12In n Out Burger$2.14Tasty
8/1/12Five Guys$11.83Tasty
8/1/12Jimmy John’s$20.45Tasty
8/2/12Chipotle$10.84Delicious
8/3/12Culver’s$9.44Tasty
8/3/12Jimmy John’s$7.38Tasty
8/4/12Ichiban$42.41Delicious
8/7/12Five Guys$6.88Tasty
8/8/12Chick-fil-a$18.13Tasty
8/10/12The Downtown Philly$10.44Tasty
8/11/12Bombay House$43.98Delicious
8/14/12In n Out Burger$15.62Tasty
8/17/12Kneaders$0.85Gross
8/18/12Chick-fil-a$14.52Tasty
8/24/12Jimmy John’s$13.63Tasty
8/24/12Settebello$8Delicious
8/25/12Kneaders$29.56Gross
8/25/12Red Iguana$37.06Tasty
9/1/12In n Out Burger$15.40Tasty
9/3/12Culver’s$15.03Tasty
9/4/12Rumbi Island Grill$16.04Gross
9/5/12Bombay House$47.02Delicious
9/5/12J Dawgs$5.99Tasty
9/6/12Kneaders$12.90Gross
9/7/12Jimmy John’s$5.93Tasty
9/8/12In n Out Burger$13.24Tasty
9/12/12Chick-fil-a$21.02Tasty
9/14/12Jimmy John’s$7.70Tasty
9/15/12Country Bakery of Lehi$3.65Tasty
9/17/12Five Guys$8.60Tasty
9/17/12Thai House Cuisine$19.40Tasty
9/18/12J Dawgs$4.99Tasty
9/19/12In n Out Burger$15.61Tasty
9/20/12El Mexiquense Grill$9.91Meh
9/21/12Jimmy John’s$7.70Tasty
9/24/12Cafe Rio$14.57Tasty
9/25/12In n Out Burger$2.14Tasty
9/25/12Pier 49$17.74Gross
9/27/12Jimmy John’s$5.93Tasty
9/27/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$2.21Gross
9/28/12Culver’s$2.79Tasty
9/28/12El Mexiquense Grill$12.15Meh
9/29/12In n Out Burger$4.29Tasty
9/29/12Pizzeria Seven Twelve$51.12Delicious
9/29/12Smart Cookie$5.66Tasty
10/1/12J Dawgs$4.99Tasty
10/2/12Rubios$9.36Tasty
10/3/12BYU Creamery Fountain$9.18Tasty
10/3/12Chick-fil-a$20.82Tasty
10/12/12Jimmy John’s$14.70Tasty
10/12/12Taste of Punjab$40.92Tasty
10/13/12Little Caesars$7.85Gross
10/13/12Little Caesars$7.85Gross
10/16/12In n Out Burger$12.55Tasty
10/17/12El Mexiquense Grill$9.75Meh
10/18/12Rubios$9.36Tasty
10/19/12Thai House Cuisine$12.92Tasty
10/20/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$14.30Gross
10/21/12Ichiban$60.45Delicious
10/22/12Jimmy John’s$7.70Tasty
10/23/12Cafe Rio$8.35Tasty
10/24/12Rubios$9.36Tasty
10/25/12El Mexiquense Grill$9.91Meh
10/26/12Cafe Rio$14.49Tasty
10/27/12Bombay House$44.01Delicious
10/27/12In n Out Burger$13.47Tasty
10/29/12Rubios$9.36Tasty
10/30/12BBQ and Grill$8.54Meh
10/30/12Chick-fil-a$20.17Tasty
11/1/12Jimmy John’s$7.70Tasty
11/3/12El Mexiquense Grill$10.18Meh
11/3/12Jimmy John’s$16.14Tasty
11/3/12NYPD Pizzeria$25.33Meh
11/5/12El Mexiquense Grill$9.91Meh
11/6/12Rubios$9.36Tasty
11/6/12Rumbi Island Grill$29.48Gross
11/7/12Kneaders$17.10Gross
11/10/12Cafe Rio$17.13Tasty
11/10/12Cafe Rio$9.64Tasty
11/12/12Beans and Brews$3.66Meh
11/12/12In n Out Burger$5.55Tasty
11/13/12In n Out Burger$2.14Tasty
11/14/12In n Out Burger$18.10Tasty
11/14/12Thai House Cuisine$9.70Tasty
11/15/12El Mexiquense Grill$9.63Meh
11/16/12Cafe Rio$17.13Tasty
11/17/12Settebello$18.10Delicious
11/17/12The Downtown Philly$13.55Tasty
11/19/12Thai House Cuisine$19.40Tasty
11/20/12Little Caesars$10.78Gross
11/21/12Kneaders$15.28Gross
11/21/12Taste of Punjab$19.91Tasty
11/25/12Scaddy Time$11.18Gross
11/26/12Beans and Brews$3.66Meh
11/30/12Cafe Rio$9.64Tasty
12/1/12El Mexiquense Grill$17.67Meh
12/4/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$4.14Gross
12/5/12Chick-fil-a$14.48Tasty
12/5/12In n Out Burger$2.14Tasty
12/6/12JCW’s Restaurant Lehi$14.30Gross
12/7/12Culver’s$6.66Tasty
12/8/12Pizzeria Seven Twelve$23.94Delicious
12/11/12Chick-fil-a$22.51Tasty
12/12/12IHOP$15.91Gross
12/12/12J Dawgs$5Tasty
12/14/12Cafe Rio$9.75Tasty
12/15/12In n Out Burger$14.28Tasty
12/17/12Jimmy John’s$8.84Tasty
12/17/12Paradise Bakery & Cafe$4.14Gross
12/18/12Rubios$12.12Tasty
12/19/12McDonald’s$5.69Gross
12/19/12McDonald’s$2.58Gross
12/19/12Red Iguana$18.51Tasty
12/20/12Bombay House$76.39Delicious
12/24/12Cafe Rio$16.18Tasty
12/25/12Subway$1.05Gross
12/25/12Subway$18.57Gross
12/26/12Mad Greek$3.76Gross
12/26/12Mad Greek$34.26Gross
12/29/12Woody’s Burgers$22.76Tasty
Total $3,700.97 

I Don’t Regret the Expensive, Delicious Meals

…just the cheap, gross ones. Note the meals/restaurants rated “Delicious.” These are places my wife and I can go for some good food and a quiet conversation – which is what we value most.

With a year of data in front of me, I’m inclined to double the money spent on expensive meals, while (almost) eliminating the waste on meals that are anything less than ideal.

No more dollars wasted on “Meh” or “Gross” food. That’s over.

We’re Wasting Something Much More Precious Than Money

The eating out habit robs us of time. Time we could spend enjoying ourselves at home (or a nearby park, or taking a walk together).

Instead, we eat out, which means:

  • Driving to and from the restaurant.
  • Sitting around in the restaurant, eating mediocre (or terrible) food.
  • Scolding our restless kids (and why wouldn’t they be restless and irritable, cooped up in the car and a crappy restaurant).

Excessive eating out is like any other wasteful activity: It creates deep down stress and guilt, and reduces happiness.

Occasional meals out at carefully chosen restaurants create good memories, and adds to our happiness.

The key (for me) is seeing a clear distinction between the two, and acting accordingly.

What about you? Did you spend anything close to my obscene $3,700 eating out in 2012?