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

Toronto, October 4, 2022 — Consumers continued their return to restaurants in August, increasing visits by 5% compared to a year ago, reports The NPD Group. Restaurant dollars were up 9% in the month versus a year ago. Dine-in visits slowed in August to a 28% 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 4% in August compared to a year ago.

Breakfast visits grew by 9% in August versus a year ago, evidence that consumers have resumed their out-of-the-home morning routines. Visits at supper increased by 3%. Lunch traffic was down -3% in the month compared to a year ago. Customer visits during the morning and evening snack periods grew by 11%, and afternoon snack traffic grew by 9% in August, reports NPD, which recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI®) to create a leading global technology, analytics and data provider.

Traffic to quick service restaurants (QSR), which represented 74% of restaurant visits, increased by 4% in August compared to a year ago. QSR breakfast traffic was up 13% in the month while the other main meal dayparts were down. Full service restaurant (FSR) visits, representing 26% of industry traffic, were up by 6% in the month versus a year ago. FSR supper was the segment’s bright spot, with visits up 7% in August versus a year ago, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian foodservice 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, says 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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