— Full service restaurants benefitted from the pent-up demand to dine out 

Toronto, May 5, 2022 — The Canadian foodservice industry continued to show promising recovery in the first quarter of 2022 compared to last year’s same quarter, reports The NPD Group. Physical and online visits to restaurants and commercial foodservice outlets increased by 18% in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, when traffic declined by 9% due to indoor dining restrictions. Consumer spending in the quarter grew by 27% compared to a year ago when spending declined by 12%, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian foodservice industry

Full service restaurants, hardest hit by pandemic dine-in restrictions, were the beneficiaries of pent-up dining-out demand. Compared to the previous year, visits to full-service restaurants have grown over the last four quarters. In the first quarter of 2022, full service traffic increased by 47%, and dollars grew by 52% compared to the same quarter a year ago. With dine-in restrictions lifted, most full service restaurant customers opted to dine at the restaurants instead of using carry-out or delivery. Dine-in visits increased by 187% compared to last year’s same quarter, when on-premises traffic declined by 74%. 

Faring better than full service restaurants during the pandemic, quick service restaurants, representing 70% of commercial foodservice traffic in Canada, increased traffic by 14% in this year’s first quarter compared to a year ago. Consumer spending at quick service restaurants increased by 18% compared to the first quarter of 2021. Like full service restaurant customers, quick service restaurant customers chose to dine in, increasing their on-premises visits by 118% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to a year ago, reports NPD.  

The key restaurant dayparts of morning meal (breakfast and morning snack), lunch, and dinner grew visits by double-digits over the year-ago quarter. Morning meal traffic increased by 19%, lunch by 18%, and dinner visits by 17% in the first quarter this year compared to last year’s first quarter. The afternoon snack was flat in the quarter versus last year. 

“With Canada facing the same macro-economic headwinds as many nations — global unrest, rising inflation and interest rates, supply chain issues — the impact on the long-term restaurant recovery remains unclear,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “But for now, restaurants are enjoying the robust return of customers, even as it braces for whatever comes next.” 

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