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Which Restaurants Do Business Travelers Frequent the Most?


A famous coffee chain is the most frequently expensed eatery for business travelers, according to expense account processor Certify.

According to Cetify, a corporate expense account processor, Starbucks is the most commonly expensed restaurant brand among corporate travelers in North America. The brand ranked above McDonald’s, Subway and several other popular chains in Certify’s third-quarter 2014 SpendSmartTM Report.

Vendors were ranked according to expense percentage, which was calculated by dividing the number of expenses by the total number of expenses for the expense type. Starbucks averaged a 4.57 expense percentage, with an average receipt of $10.83. The full rankings of the most expensed restaurants can be seen below.

Vendor Name      Expense %          Average Amount
Starbucks          4.57%              $10.83
McDonald’s         2.99%              $7.66
Subway             1.80%              $14.99
Panera Bread       1.60%              $37.61
Dunkin’ Donuts     1.20%              $11.34
HMS Host           1.14%              $16.17
Chick-Fil-A        0.87%              $22.01
Wendy’s            0.78%              $9.32
Burger King        0.68%              $8.85
Applebee’s         0.61%              $34.93
Misc.              83.76%               NA

Starbucks’ success isn’t surprising, says Certify CEO Robert Neveu. “Wi-Fi is a key driver, along with the consistent quality of the food,” Neveu told The New York Times, highlighting the coffee chain’s widespread availability, extensive drink selection and growing food menu.

Travelers have little control over airfare or accommodation costs, but they do have a say when it comes to choosing their own meals. While some are happy to dine extravagantly, Certify’s findings indicate that many business travelers are opting for quick, cheap meals.

This trend was also reflected in a report by Concur, a travel and expense account processor based in Washington. The company’s research found that travelers’ dining expenses dropped 11 percent in 2012 and that this downward pattern is being driven largely by younger travelers.

When it comes to predicting the future of business travel expenses, it’s worth considering yet another Millennial-driven trend. Dan Ruch, the CEO of Rocketrip, a start-up which offers monetary incentives to travelers who spend below the budget on their trips, told the times:

Give an employee a budget with no motivation to spend less and the expectation is they’ll spend the budget. But if I give you a budget and tell you for every dollar you save, you’re going to get half back, that conversation gets interesting pretty quickly — especially if you are a Millennial business traveler not making a very high salary.

 [Photo: iStock]

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sdsearch November 13, 2014

Is McDonald's much higher on the list than any other fast food chains because of the free WiFi there? I know if it wasn't for that I would much more rarely be going inside a McDonald's, and I'm not aware of there being free WiFi at other fast food chains (though for all I know there could be). McDonald's was the first I was aware of, with its partnership with AT&T, and so that's still prime in mind as in "do I need WiFi? if so, where's the next McDonald's?"., (On road trips, it's often much easier to find a McDonald's at an interstate exit than a Starbucks.)