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Dining Out: Do Locals or Students Matter More to Oxford Restaurants?

Photo by Connor Heitzmann, Feb. 25, 2015.
Photo by Connor Heitzmann, Feb. 25, 2015.

Oxford restaurants do rely on business from locals, but revenue skyrockets during the months when college students are in town.

“I will probably say it is close to a 60 percent to 40 percent split between families and students. Although, those numbers do change depending on the time of the year, and whether school is in session or not,” said Chad Jennings, general manager of Soulshine Pizza on the Oxford Square.

Though the stereotype of the broke college student lives on, plenty of young people continue to eat out on a regular basis. If you’re an average college student, you may eat out more than 30 times per month, according to research published on the Financial Times newspaper website.

“Choosing to go out is definitely a combination of both food and the social aspect. After a long week, or even just a long day of school, students want somewhere they can relax. When you go out with friends, you can relax and eat and drink,” said Soulshine owner Scott Caradine.

Caradine went on to add that not every meal has to be a pricey one.

“When students want to go out with friends, they tend to get more dressed up and not care what they are spending, but focus more on the atmosphere. If they are just lazy and hungry, they will choose somewhere quick like McDonalds or Jimmy Johns,” he said.

According to the Financial Times article, the average American will eat out a total of 4.8 meals throughout the week, and consumers aged 18 to 34 tend to eat out an average of 32 times a month.

Ole Miss student Lizz McNaughton says moving off campus has made eating out much easier. “I have to drive either way, so why not just go sit and eat somewhere, or grab takeout,” she said.

Grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up after a meal can sound like quite the hassle when the alternative is to simply eat out and sign the bill.Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.36.06 PM

“I want to look cute and go out with friends and not care what I spend on food or drinks. The drinks can get pretty expensive, but when I am surrounded by music and friends trying to let loose, the last thing I think about is my banking account,” said McNaughton.

McNaughton went on to add, “Well, until my mom calls Monday morning asking what all these charges on my card are from. This hasn’t stopped me yet, though.”

This story was contributed by Ole Miss journalism student Courtney Kamm.  She can be reached at cpkamm@go.olemiss.edu.

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