Business and Operations
Visits to Canadian restaurants and food-service outlets nearly back to pre-pandemic level: NPD Group
July 12, 2022 By Bakers Journal
Toronto — Food-service industry traffic in Canada reached near pre-pandemic levels in May, missing the mark by just one per cent versus May 2019, The NPD Group reports.
Consumer visits to restaurants and other commercial foodservice outlets increased by 16 per cent this May compared to a year ago. Commercial food-service consumer spending rose by 28 per cent in the month compared to a year ago, up seven per cent versus May 2019.
Morning meals, which include breakfast and morning snack periods, were the strongest performing daypart in May, with visits up 24 per cent compared to a year ago and down one per cent from May 2019.
Driving the May traffic growth was a 321 per cent gain in dine-in food-service visits compared to a year ago. However, even with the triple-digit growth, dine-in visits, which were hit hardest by pandemic-related restrictions, are still 28 per cent below May 2019 traffic, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian food-service industry. Off-premises ordering from food-service outlets — carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery — while currently down from the strong growth experienced during the pandemic lockdown periods, remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels. For example, food-service delivery was down nine per cent this May compared to a year ago, but orders were 79 per cent above the May 2019 level.
Morning meals, which include breakfast and morning snack periods, were the strongest performing daypart in May, with visits up 24 per cent compared to a year ago and down one per cent from May 2019. Lunch was close behind with a 21 per cent increase in traffic versus a year ago and an eight per cent decline in visits from three years ago. The lunch visit decline from the pre-pandemic traffic level shows that most consumers have not resumed their pre-COVID routines, like workday lunches. Food-service visits at supper grew by 14 per cent this May compared to last year and were up seven per cent compared to May 2019.
“While the recovery continues to take hold, so does the re-definition of the foodservice landscape,” said Vince Sgabellone, NPD food-service industry analyst. “The industry needs to adjust to these changes by understanding how consumers currently use food service throughout the day and how they will use it in the future.”
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