How many hours are wasted each year looking for restaurants to eat at?

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How many hours are wasted each year looking for restaurants to eat at?

Hello! Thanks for your request about the amount of time spent each year looking for restaurant to eat at. In short, approximately 244.8 million hours are spent searching for restaurants online. Consumers spend over 171.6 million hours on Yelp searching and reviewing restaurants before making a purchase decision, and there are about 20.4 million monthly "restaurant" search queries globally. Also, I was unable to get a figure for Foursquare as there are no publicly available statistics or data to arrive at the amount of time spent looking for a restaurant on the platform. Below is a deep dive of my methodology and findings.

METHODOLOGY

To come up with the accurate figures, I have gathered some facts and calculations based on statistical data and industry reports and triangulated the information.

I began by researching the number of search queries on Google. I installed the Keywordseverywhere add-on to my browser to get the number of monthly "restaurant" search queries on Google. The add-on gives the number of monthly queries for a word or sentence when searched you search on Google. Next, I looked up reports, surveys and studies on the amount of time consumer's spend on looking for a restaurant online before deciding to make a purchase. I also observe that majority of searches and purchases online are done via a mobile device. Consumers often make their decisions almost immediately or within an hour. With that in mind, I looked at the number of Yelp and Foursquare users. I researched the number of consumers that search for restaurants on each website/App. While I was able to obtain data for Yelp, I could not get sufficient data that could be enough for triangulation.
To arrive at the number of hours spent yearly, I calculated thus;

Average time spent by consumer X Number of restaurant searchers X 12 months.


BACKGROUND AND ASSUMPTION
According to a recent survey by Nielsen, 75% of the consumers searching online for a local business turn to consumer online review sites. 95% of smartphone users conduct restaurant searches. 64% of consumers who search for restaurant online make a purchase immediately or within an hour. (mobile customer). In fact, 85% of purchases are from a mobile device. The urgency in restaurant consumer activity and the locally driven consumption has been a major factor.
Based on the analysis, we can assume that users spend an average of an hour before a making purchasing decision which I would apply on my calculations.

AVERAGE TIME SPENT SEARCHING FOR RESTAURANT TO EAT
The number of “restaurant” search queries on Google is estimated at 20.4 million searches globally. Also, 40% of restaurant searches include specific terms like "restaurant near me".

40/100 * 20.4 million = 8.4 million per month “restaurant near me" search queries

I validated the figure above using the keywordseverywhere and got about 7.4 million monthly search queries.

To calculate the number of "restaurant" search queries;

Number of Hours spent searching for "restaurant" online yearly:
1 hr X 20.4 million X 12 months = 244.8 million hours

AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON YELP LOOKING FOR RESTAURANT
The average monthly unique visitors on Yelp are estimated at 53 million. According to a study by Nelson, 92% of consumers make a purchase after visiting Yelp. 42% purchase within a day, 79% weekly and 25% within an hour. However, the number of consumers who report purchasing a business within a few hours increased by 212%. 55% of Yelp users search for restaurants online. A vast majority of Yelp search queries happen in the Yelp app on mobile devices. There are currently about 26 million monthly mobile app Yelp users. 64% of searchers with smartphones convert within an hour of their mobile search activity.

Consumers who search for restaurant on Yelp:
55/100 X 26 million = 14.3 million

Average time spent searching for restaurant yearly:
1 hr X 14.3 million x 12 = 171.6 million

FOURSQUARE
According to a report by Deluxe, Foursquare is a popular directory for restaurants and easily connects to Twitter. 86% of chain restaurants have a presence on Foursquare 72% of independent restaurants have a listing on Foursquare. Chuck Ellis, the President of Restaurant Sciences in its 2012 statement said that "Foursquare has quickly become a dominant social media application for restaurants across the country" “The widespread acceptance makes Foursquare a viable contender to Yelp, especially as Foursquare enhances its offerings to provide restaurant reviews and recommendations".

CONCLUSION

To wrap it up, approximately 244.8 million hours are spent searching for restaurants online. Consumers spend over 171.6 million hours on Yelp searching and reviewing restaurants before making a purchase decision, and there are about 20.4 million monthly "restaurant" search queries globally. Also, I was unable to get a figure for Foursquare as there are no publicly available statistics or data to arrive at the amount of time spent looking for a restaurant on the platform.

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