—Canadians made 75 million more foodservice visits in April compared to a year ago

Toronto, June 2, 2022 — Canadians made 75 million more foodservice visits this April than last year when most of the country was still in lockdown, reports The NPD Group. Online and physical visits to restaurants and other commercial foodservice outlets increased by 18% in April 2022 compared to a year ago, although still 10% below the pre-pandemic level in April 2019. Consumer spending at foodservice outlets, which reflects higher food and operational costs, is up 32% compared to a year ago and down 2% from April 2019, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian foodservice industry

Carry-out and drive-thru orders, which soared during the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, softened in April while dining at restaurants and other foodservice outlets grew. Dine-in visits increased by 291% in April compared to a year ago, and carry-out and drive-thru orders declined by 6% and 15%, respectively. Delivery and digital ordering, other pandemic lifelines for commercial foodservice, were flat and down 1%, respectively.  

Full service restaurant visits, still recovering from steep declines during pandemic lockdowns, grew by 62% in April compared to a year ago, although still down 17% from April 2019. Quick service restaurant visits increased by 11% in the month over a year ago, down 8% from the pre-pandemic level in April 2019. Retail foodservice, prepared, ready-to-eat foods from grocers, convenience stores, and other retail outlets, were up 4% in April compared to the same period a year ago, down 4% from April 2019.   

Supper had the most significant boost of foodservice meal times in April, with visits up 27% compared to a year ago. With more Canadians returning to worksites and out and about, lunch traffic improved by 19% over last year, and morning meal, including breakfast and AM snack, grew visits by 18% in April 2022 compared to April last year.

“The Canadian foodservice recovery endures. In April, people continued to return to restaurants exactly as we expected,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “The big issue on the minds of so many Canadians is the economy — rising inflation and interest rates, supply chain instability, and general uncertainty. These issues could stall the current foodservice industry’s recovery at some point. Still, in the meantime, the industry is poised to continue riding this wave of pent-up demand and increased mobility right into the patio season.”

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