Like Americans, Africans tend to dine out often. This may come as a surprise as one of the common themes when a person or family is trying to cut back on spending is to eat out less, so one would expect that this would be unheard of for an African with less discretionary income. Nevertheless, there is a proliferation of roadside businesses selling samosas, chapatis, matoke, and chicken-on-a-stick.
Observation 11: Many people buy meals at canteens set up on many street corners, outside factory gates, and at other convenient locations.
This observation fits well with several previous observations. The reasons people have for doing this are multifaceted, but generally extend from what we have already seen. People prefer not to eat alone, and, given the choice, prefer to be social during their meals, making the roadside cafe a perfect venue for a morning meal. People have little incentive to save money, so the small savings that would come from preparing one’s own meal is often not a significant motivation. Lastly, people see that the men and women who run these enterprises also have to make money, and so they perceive a social responsibility to contribute to the well-being of those preparing and selling food.
Again, we see the complex social structure at work in the lives of our neighbors’ decision-making processes. What is more, many of these foods are deep-fried, which for someone like me, makes them hard to turn down.