Bakers Journal

Canadian restaurant industry August traffic up from a year ago: report

October 5, 2022
By Bakers Journal

Pent-up demand for dine-in visits slows, and carry-out increased after several months of declines

Consumers continued their return to restaurants in August, increasing visits by five per cent compared to a year ago, The NPD Group reports.

Restaurant dollars were up nine per cent in the month versus a year ago. Dine-in visits slowed in August to a 28 per cent increase from the triple-digit growth realized in the first months after the pandemic lockdowns. On the other hand, carry-out orders, which have been down since March, picked up some of the dine-in visits lost and were up four per cent in August compared to a year ago.

Breakfast visits grew by nine per cent in August versus a year ago, evidence that consumers have resumed their out-of-the-home morning routines. Visits at supper increased by three per cent. Lunch traffic was down minus three per cent in the month compared to a year ago. Customer visits during the morning and evening snack periods grew by 11 per cent, and afternoon snack traffic grew by nine per cent in August, reports NPD, which recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. to create a leading global technology, analytics and data provider.

Traffic to quick service restaurants, which represented three-quarters of restaurant visits, increased by four per cent in August compared to a year ago. QSR breakfast traffic was up 13 per cent in the month while the other main meal dayparts were down. Full-service restaurant visits, representing more than a quarter of industry traffic, were up by six per cent in the month versus a year ago. FSR supper was the segment’s bright spot, with visits up seven per cent in August versus a year ago, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian food-service industry.

“In August, we saw a mix of pre-pandemic and COVID-era restaurant behaviours with the slowdown in dine-in visits and the uptick of carry-out orders, said Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “It’s too soon to say if the August results are a trend or a blip. Since September is traditionally one of the busiest on the foodservice calendar, the next data release will be a very telling indication of a cooling recovery or just cooling weather.”

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