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Retiree traffic at restaurants rises

Marie Langworthy, 68, and her husband, Bob, 75, of Columbia, Conn., love to dine out and usually do so at least twice a week, often for dinner or a late lunch.

Marie hates to cook and tries to avoid it at all costs. "My husband prefers anything to my cooking," she says. "The surest way to get your husband to take you out to eat is to be a lousy cook."

"We always spend more than we'd like to or anticipate, because Bob enjoys wine or hard liquor with his meal, and I always opt for dessert," says Marie, a retired school administrator and co-author of Shifting Gears to Your Life and Work After Retirement.

She says they could probably "save a bundle" if they ate more meals at home, but they have no plans to cut back on dining out anytime soon. "First of all, eating out has become a great American social pastime. Secondly, it allows each of us to pick and choose what we want without our needing to plan and prepare meals in advance."

Retirees over the age of 65 bought an average of 193 meals each at restaurants last year up from 171 in 2009, according to the latest data from the NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks eating trends. That's slightly less than adults over age 18 who bought an average of 203 meals at restaurants last year, down from 222 meals in 2009.

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