Canadian Pizza Magazine

COVID-19 Updates News Trends
Delivery grew by 98% in Canada in 2020: NPD Group summarizes ordering trends


Millennial customers want ordering and payment technology as well as free Wi-Fi.

Although mandated dine-in restrictions throughout the pandemic netted a double-digit decline in visits to Canadian restaurants in 2020 compared to the previous year, off-premise ordering grew in 2020, while on-premise and dine-in orders declined by double-digits, according to NPD Group’s continuous tracking of industry trends.

“The foodservice trends we saw as 2020 came to a close were established many months earlier,” said Vince Sgabellone, NPD food-service industry analyst. “Pivotal among these trends is the continued importance of off-premise order modes. Canadians continued to support restaurants by dining-out at home. Off-premise orders represented about 80% of all restaurant visits by the end of last year.”

Food-service digital orders, which were growing prior to the pandemic, experienced triple-digit growth in 2020 ending the year with a 142 per cent increase in orders in December compared to year ago. The off-premise modes of carry-out and delivery recorded their fastest growth rates last year.

Carry-out orders increased by 25 per cent and delivery jumped by 98 per cent in December compared to year ago. Drive-thru, an ordering mode that was already well developed at quick-service restaurant chains when the pandemic hit, increased orders by 45 per cent in December versus year ago.

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Total visits, physical and virtual, to Canadian restaurants and other food-service outlets were down 16 per cent in December versus year ago but quick service restaurants, whose business model has always been based on providing quick and portable meals, fared better with a 11 per cent decline in visits.

Full-service restaurants, most impacted by the dine-in restrictions, struggled to take advantage of the off-premise boom and realized a 37 per cent loss in traffic in December compared to year ago, NPD reports.

“The Canadian restaurant industry is relieved to be putting 2020 in the rearview mirror, but it has experienced a decade of evolution condensed into several months,” Sgabellone said. “The pandemic has forced the evolution in ways that hadn’t been thought of before. Recovery won’t happen overnight, but the industry will recover with lessons learned and new ways of thinking already in place.”