Consumer Corner: Biz travelers like Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds

Business travelers get their morning lattes from Starbucks, their lunch from Subway and their dinner meal deals from McDonald's, a report by Certify, a provider of expense management and travel booking software, indicates.

On average, $7.86 was spent at Starbucks, representing 14.14 percent of total expenses on the road, $10.79 at Subway for 3.11 percent and $7.01 at McDonald's for 1.74 percent, a review of clients' first-quarter business expense by Certify indicated.


Besides Starbucks, Subway and McDonald's, top-expensed vendors for the first quarter of 2013 included Marriott, Hampton Inn, Avis, Delta, United, Shell and Verizon, the Certify report said.

Marriott topped the list of the most-expensed lodging, averaging $238.29 for 8.95 percent of the report. Marriott was followed by Hampton Inn, $198.70, 6.4 percent, and a Marriott property, Courtyard by Marriott, $153.80 average cost, 6.2 percent.

The quarterly Certify SpendSmart Report analyzed vendors, expense amounts and satisfaction rating data on business expenses collected directly from end-users.

Certify's cloud-based travel and expense software is used by companies of all sizes and across all industries, the company said in a release.

"Our customers value the insights we bring that highlight the latest trends in business [travel and entertainment] expenses. These insights help them plan budgets, evaluate policies and choose preferred vendors that best fit their needs," Certify Chief Executive Officer Robert Neveu said. "The SpendSmart Report tells us which vendors are delivering the best customer satisfaction levels. When compared with average expense amounts and popularity rankings, our customers can learn which vendors provide the best value overall."


Most expensed airlines were Delta, 20.83 percent of expenses, averaging $373.80, followed by United, 13.02 percent, averaging $452.56, and Southwest, 9.04 percent, averaging $289.44.

Avis, with 17.4 percent of a company's expenses, averaging $170.84, was the most-expensed car rental company, followed by National, 15.61 percent, averaging $177.86, and Hertz, 14.24 percent, averaging $243.84.

Among regional cities frequented by business travelers, the Certify report found Chick-Fil-A beat McDonald's as most-expensed restaurant in Atlanta with 2.01 percent of meals compared to McDonald's 1.85 percent.

In Boston, Dunkin' Donuts approaches the popularity of Starbucks with 4.5 percent of meals, compared to Starbucks at 6.92 percent. The higher end Legal Seafoods was third place with 3.5 percent of meals, averaging $67.59 per receipt.

Zip Car placed No. 6 among rental car providers in Chicago, just after Enterprise, with 4.6 percent of rentals.

Starbucks was preferred over McDonald's in Dallas by more than double, with 8.98 percent of meals expensed compared to McDonald's 3.27 percent.

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