hospitalitytoday.com | 23 Stress and work drive customers’ unhealthy eating habits Seasonal differences in eating habits are often ascribed to crash dieting before holidays, but a new analysis of restaurant customer data shows that other factors like jobs and stress now play just as large a role. The day to day data, analysed from over 20,000 food orders by customer insight specialist Ordoo, show that people’s behaviours shift dramatically from the weekday to the weekend, and that there is a relationship between people’s busy work lives and their ability to resist the temptation of unhealthy food. The data showed that: People are 23% more likely to eat healthily in Summer than in Winter. People are twice as likely to eat unhealthily on Monday as they are on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). Thursday is the least healthy day, with almost one in three (29%) of orders being unhealthy. Coffee orders spike on Monday afternoons to levels more twice as high as any other afternoon of the week. Ordoo’s data show that people are twice as likely to make unhealthy choices during the week than they are at the weekend, suggesting that job pressures and work/life balances contribute to eating unhealthy food. This view is supported by the fact that consumers are most likely to order unhealthy options on Wednesday and Thursday, the days furthest from the weekend. Similarly, the data show that people are using large amounts of coffee to help them get through the stress of Monday afternoon, when there are more than double the usual volume of afternoon coffee orders. People are 23% more likely to order healthy food in summer than in spring. With people more relaxed during the holiday season they have time to think about their diet, and reach for the healthy option. The findings show this is as likely a reason for eating good food as the idea that people are ‘crash dieting’ before holidays.