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Fast Food

Study Finds Road Warriors Go to Starbucks and Subway... a Lot

You can spot them a mile away. Bleary-eyed people in suits pulling wheelie bags like pet poodles while they stand in line at the nearest Starbucks. They're the sales professionals and marketing reps who spend most of their lives on the road, endlessly traveling from meeting to pitch.

And, like most people, they need nourishment. And by nourishment, we mean caffeine and sugar.

See also: Starbucks: Don't Bring Guns Into Our Coffee Shops

According to a report recently released by Certify, a company that provides expense management and travel booking software, business travelers spend more money at Starbucks than at any other restaurant chain.

The Spend Smart report, generated from Certify's recent business expense and vendor ratings data for July 1 to September 30 gives us insight into the not-so-glamorous life of the road warrior. Unlike George Clooney in Up in the Air, the average business traveler stays in a Marriott or a Hampton Inn and dines at such "chichi" places as Jimmy John's, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A.

According to the report, the most expensed restaurant for breakfast is Starbucks, with an average check of $9.51. Subway comes in tops for lunch with an average lunch at $14.09 (seems like someone's taking a Five-Dollar Footlong home for a snack). Tellingly, the top dinner spot is the generic HMS Host, which operates most airport dining facilities, with an average check of $16.26.

Other top "restaurants" for those weary for a home-cooked meal and a warm bed include McDonald's, Panera Bread, and Dunkin' Donuts. Full-service restaurants listed are (you guessed) Chili's, Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Outback Steakhouse.

Though there's no conclusion to the report, which also lists data on car rental companies and airlines, one assumption can be made: The fast-food trend is deeply embedded into the day-to-day activities of all of America -- blue and white collar.

With that much purchase power, it would be wise for us to demand healthier choices from the very companies that feed most of us -- both close to home and when we're just in need of a familiar meal in an unfamiliar city.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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