Cost Analysis: Home Cooking vs. Dining Out vs. Meal Delivery

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Explore the true costs and practical alternatives of home cooking in bustling urban settings. Discover the financial burden, time commitment, and viable alternatives
home cooking vs dining ou vs meal delivery

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The Financial Burden of Home Cooking

Let’s delve into an example of a businessman living in an urban environment where the cost per square meter is high. Imagine you’re allocating 18% of your living space to the kitchen. For a spending of $3,000 per month on a decent-sized apartment, that’s about $540 dedicated to the kitchen. Managing meal preparations can take up a significant portion of your time – a precious resource as an entrepreneur where time is indeed money. 

If you spend about 2 hours daily to prepare meals, with an average hourly rate of your time as $31 (assuming an annual salary of around $65,000), that’s a hefty daily cost of $62. Count in another $10 daily for groceries and utilities, the daily cost of home cooking comes up to $74. 

The Alternatives: Eating Out vs. Meal Delivery

As an alternative, let’s consider eating out. With a city’s average meal cost ranging from $10 to $20, eating out twice a day would cost you between $20 and $40 daily. Without considering the opportunity cost of your time, this might look like a cost-effective alternative. Yet, remember that time spent commuting to and finding a restaurant and waiting for your order to be prepared shouldn’t be overlooked.

Considering meal delivery services, they typically charge between $15 and $30 for a meal for two. Ordering twice a day for yourself from DoorDash or Uber Eats would cost between $30 and $60 daily. While it might save you from the headaches of meal prep, it could bring another dilemma – What’s the point of maintaining that costly kitchen area if it’s not frequently utilized?

However, it’s important to note that for individuals with food restrictions or allergies, the level of trust in ordering food falls a notch down. Many a time, the fear of cross-contamination lingers, thus subtracting from the overall meal enjoyment.

Behold, the Magic of Batch Cooking

In contrast, if we switch our lens to batch cooking, the economy of scale comes to play. Let’s say the average cost of a meal goes down to $1.5 when cooked in bulk. If you choose this method of cooking twice weekly, your daily meal expense drops to roughly $6. That, along with your kitchen rent and utilities, can get you an overall daily cost of around $24.


You might wonder about the hefty time consumption. However, the reality is batch cooking often takes few extra minutes per meal than cooking single portions each time. Moreover, inviting friends over for meals at home becomes a more viable option, fostering networking and socializing without spending premium restaurant costs. 

Cashing in on Communal Kitchens

In times when optimizing costs and space is critical, shared kitchens seem to score well. Especially for entrepreneurs emphasizing lean living, it aligns with the concept of the ‘sharing economy.’ Communal kitchens allow pooling of resources, fostering bulk purchase discounts and potential group cooking sessions, thus saving cost and time. 


In conclusion, batch cooking paired with shared kitchen spaces can drastically cut down expenses and time in managing meals for urban entrepreneurs. It merges the goals of reducing costs, boosting social interactions, and promoting healthier meal choices. It’s high time urban dwellers reimagined the way they cook and eat, fitting in perfectly with their fast-paced, cost-optimized lifestyles.

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About the Author

Gary Gitton
Hello, I'm Gary Gitton - an accomplished Software Engineer, Tech Lead, specializing in PHP, API Engineering, DevOps, and Cloud Management. Throughout my career, I've had the privilege to enhance multiple software solutions with my expertise in multiple languages and platforms. I bring my unique blend of technical and business acumen to every project, ensuring efficient, scalable, and innovative outcomes. I'm also passionate about fostering a culture of continuous learning, mentoring developers, and leading projects with agile methodologies. Whether concocting a bespoke API or orchestrating cloud environments, I'm committed to delivering quality and excellence. Let's connect and transform your vision into a digital reality.

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