Consumer spending and visits are up double-digits in the quarter ending June

Toronto, Canada, August 11, 2021 — Through lockdowns, COVID-19 restrictions, and eventual reopening, Canadians released their pent-up demand and ordered from or visited restaurants and other foodservice outlets in the April-May-June quarter reports The NPD Group. Consumer spending at restaurants and other foodservice outlets increased by +43% in the second quarter of the year compared to the same quarter last year when spending declined by -41% from the year before. Visits, dining in and off-premises orders, improved by +31% compared to the second quarter year ago when traffic declined by -36%, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the foodservice industry.

Each area of the commercial foodservice market is recovering at a different pace. Quick service restaurants (QSR), many of which had well-developed off-premises services like carry-out and drive-thru at the start of the pandemic, suffered the least declines throughout the pandemic. As a result, these restaurants will recover faster than full service restaurants, which depend on dine-in guests. Consumer spending at QSRs increased by +30% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 2020 when spending was down -26%. QSR traffic rose by +28% in the quarter compared to a -31% decline last year.   

Full service restaurants (FSRs), which bore the brunt of COVID-related dine-in restrictions, quickly carved out their share of the recovery in the April-May-June quarter. Consumer spending jumped by over +50% in the quarter compared to the -62% decline last year. According to NPD, FSR traffic climbed by +28% in the quarter compared to a -31% decline in the same quarter year ago. 

Although consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic ways of using foodservice, their use of digital ordering from foodservice, a behavior that accelerated during the pandemic, is likely to stick. Digital orders and digital order spending increased by 87% and 86%, respectively, in the year ending June compared to the same period last year. The use of a mobile app to order grew by 46% in the period over last year.

“It’s so encouraging to see that Canadian restaurant consumers are doing what they told us they would do, which is to get back to dining at restaurants,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “We know that recovery will not happen overnight. Our Future of Foodservice forecast indicates that the overall recovery will be slow and steady as many consumers plan to continue sheltering at home to avoid social situations.”