—Dine-in restaurant visits grow by triple-digits 

August 9, 2022 — With the COVID public health restrictions lifted early in 2022, the Canadian restaurant industry began recovering from the steep declines it experienced during the pandemic lockdown periods. The industry finished the second quarter ending June with physical and online visits up 17% compared to a year ago, 2% below the traffic level in the second quarter of 2019 before the pandemic, reports The NPD Group. Restaurant customer spending, which, in addition to increased visits, reflects higher costs, grew by 30% in the quarter compared to a year ago, up 9% from the pre-pandemic level.   

Quick service restaurant (QSR) visits, representing 76% of total restaurant traffic, increased by 11% in the second quarter compared to last year’s quarter, 2% below the pre-pandemic level for the same period in 2019. Full service restaurant (FSR) visits, representing 24% of all restaurant visits, were up 44% in the quarter versus a year ago and down 1% compared to the second quarter of 2019, according to NPD’s daily tracking of the Canadian foodservice industry.

Pent-up demand for dining at restaurants was evident in the 193% jump in dine-in visits in the second quarter compared to a year ago. Dine-in visits to full service restaurants grew by 200%, and quick service on-premises traffic increased by 187% over the second quarter year ago. Off-premises visits, including carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery, declined, except for full service delivery, compared to the significant gains each service mode experienced at the height of pandemic lockdowns. Although digital orders declined by 8% in the quarter from a year ago, digital ordering is 170% above the pre-pandemic order level.  

The morning meal daypart, which includes breakfast and A.M. snack and represents the largest share, 30%, of daypart traffic, increased visits by 19% in the second quarter compared to a year ago. Lunch visits, representing 26% of daypart traffic, grew by 21% from a year ago. At the supper daypart, which holds 25% traffic share, visits increased by 19%, and P.M. snack traffic, representing 17% of daypart share, grew by 8% in the second quarter compared to a year ago. 

“The restaurant industry’s recovery story continues in a positive direction. Notably, off-premises visits continue well ahead of historical levels,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “The recovery trends are occurring across the full service and quick service restaurant segments. These segments are on an equal footing now, not competing on convenience or atmosphere alone. They are both competing on price, value, and food quality.” 

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