Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Higher cheque averages fuelling growth


November 8, 2013
By Canadian Pizza

Nov. 8, 2013, Canada – Foodservice industry growth in Canada is coming from consumers spending more, rather than making more restaurant visits, reports The NPD Group.

Foot traffic in restaurants remained flat in the year
ending in May, but there was a two-per-cent increase in consumer foodservice
spending over the same period last year, with gains resulting from a higher
average spend in diner cheques.

Visits to quick service restaurants (QSRs), which represent 56 per cent
of foodservice industry traffic, were flat but the segment posted a dollar
gain of three per cent over same period last year, found NPD’s CREST service.

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QSR traffic was up one per cent at morning meals and evening snacks,
while visits at lunch were down three per cent. Across the entire industry,
casual dining at full-service restaurants (FSRs) had the strongest visit gains
(three per cent), with spending up by two per cent.

“Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the demand for
convenient dining options in Canada,” said Robert Carter, executive director of foodservice in Canada for The NPD Group, in a media statement. “Fewer people are making
time to enjoy their meals in restaurants, and many are spending more at
establishments that offer speedy service.”

The NPD Group’s 2013 ReCount
data showed that the number of commercial restaurant locations across the
country increased slightly (one per cent) from 70,940 to 71,979 between
December 2011 and 2012. Of this group, chains are faring better than
independents, showing a four-per-cent increase in unit growth compared to flat
growth for independents.

“There is definitely an opportunity to grow on-premise dining and to
help Canadians move away from the new norm: hurried eating,” continued Carter.
“To attract consumers, restaurants will need to offer menu items and an
overarching in-house experience that make diners feel it is worth the time to
sit down for a meal.”