Bakers Journal

Restaurants Canada: Canadians eager to return to indoor dining

September 21, 2021
By Bakers Journal

Image courtesy of Restaurants Canada and Bubblegum Canada

 Restaurants Canada’s latest report offers some optimism for those in the café-bakery industry with a report on what chefs and bakers can expect with the release of the 2021 Discerning Diner Report.

Based on findings from a survey hosted on the Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Restaurants Canada, the report shares that on the positive side, Canadians are looking forward to returning to restaurants, so long as safety measures are in place. 89 per cent of Canadians are looking forward to eating out with friends and family, with 64 per cent going so far as to say that dining out will be an important part of their lifestyle post-pandemic.

Canadians may be ready to return to restaurants, however some of their tastes and priorities have changed,says Todd Barclay, President of Restaurants Canada in a statement. The Discerning Diner report provides our members with the information they need to make choices around everything from menu selections and customer service options, to marketing initiatives and possible new revenue streams that todays consumer is interested in. As more Canadians return to in-person dining, restaurants will need to continue adapting to capture market share.

The restaurant experience is one that Canadians cherish, with 63 per cent of young consumers (ages 18-34) missing the fun of eating out, and 61 per cent sharing that they miss the atmosphere. The biggest thing that all Canadians miss about table-service dining is socializing and connecting with friends and family (72 per cent). Despite this, four in 10 Canadians are still tentative about eating in-person and plan to postpone their first in-person dining experience for anywhere between a few months of reopening, to sometime in 2022. This poses a significant challenge for the industry in the short- to mid-term as restaurants are unable to maximize in-person dining revenues with fewer patrons.


Canadians are picky when it comes to their food delivery orders the most important factors when choosing to order delivery range from consistency of food quality (73 per cent), crave-able menu items (59 per cent) and whether theyve visited in-person before (51 per cent), to more economical considerations like value for money (48 per cent) and whether it has a low or no delivery fee (43 per cent).

  • 78 per cent of Canadians have ordered delivery within six months prior to the survey.
  • Quebec ordered delivery the most, with 84 per cent saying they had ordered within the last six months.
  • Once the pandemic subsides, delivery will be the preferred choice for 18-34 year olds when eating off-premise at a quick-service restaurant.
  • For table-service restaurants, 39 per cent of young Canadians said they will prefer to order takeout by going inside and picking up, while 37 per cent will order delivery. 8 per cent say they plan to order more once the pandemic subsides.
  • 15 per cent have ordered alcoholic beverages with food for delivery or takeout, on par with the 18 per cent of Canadians that say theyre likely to do this.
  • Cocktails and beer (combined 35 per cent) are the most likely to be ordered.
  • Consumers are twice as likely to prefer ordering delivery directly from a table-service restaurant by phone or restaurant app (20 per cent) vs third-party apps (10 per cent).

Restaurants Canada has pulled together the top considerations for Canadians as the nation reopens its doors to diners, from food trends and innovation that consumers are most excited about.  The full Discerning Diner report can be read here.


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