Foodservice traffic in Canada grew by double-digits in 2022
9. February 2023 | Food Service Equipment, News, ReTell, Shopping Today

Industry growth in 2023 will be modest and more in line with 2019 increases

The past two years were about the recovery and revival of the Canadian foodservice industry. Visits to restaurants and foodservice outlets grew by 11% in 2022, over an 11% gain in 2021, reinforcing upward momentum, reports The NPD Group. Consumer spending increased by 19% last year compared to the year before, primarily due to higher prices. NPD forecasts modest foodservice traffic growth in 2023 of just over 2%, which is the pre-pandemic growth rate.

Customer visits to quick service restaurants (QSR), representing 67% of total industry traffic, increased by 9% in 2022 over a gain of 11% in 2021. Spending at QSRs grew by 9% in the year ending December 2022 compared to a year ago. All main meal and snack periods at QSR increased visits last year, led by the morning meal, which includes breakfast, and the A.M. snack periods, which grew customer traffic year-over-year by 11%. Lunch, supper, and P.M. snack each grew visits by 8%, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian foodservice industry.

Full service restaurants (FSRs) were the beneficiaries of consumers returning to out-of-home dining and realized a traffic increase of 26% in 2022 over a 20% gain in 2021. Customer spending at FSRs grew by 31% last year compared to the year before, when spending increased by 23%. With most FSR customers opting to dine at a restaurant, on-premises visits were up 68% over a year ago, while off-premises traffic, like carry-out, declined by 9%. Like QSR, all FSR dayparts experienced visit gains from a year ago, with morning meal growing by 47%, lunch by 28%, supper by 20%, and P.M. snack by 22%.

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Retail foodservice traffic declining

With consumers less reliant on carry-out foodservice, visits to convenience, grocery, and drug stores for ready-to-eat foodservice items and beverages declined last year by 4% compared to the year before. Except for the morning meal, where retail foodservice traffic grew by 5%, all other dayparts were flat to declining. Supper finished the year flat, lunch was down 6%, and P.M. snack declined by 7% compared to 2021 traffic, reports NPD.

“Canadians continue to exhibit new behaviours as they venture out of their homes once again, resulting in new foodservice purchase habits. This will lead to a continued transformation of restaurant traffic patterns,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “Continued upward momentum of incremental restaurant visits after two years of restrictions is expected to propel the industry through any economic downturn we may experience this year. For that reason, the overall industry outlook remains cautiously positive for the coming year ― provided everyone embraces the transformation.”

Source: The NPD Group

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