TORONTO — The Canadian restaurant industry has started to recover from the steep declines it experienced during the pandemic lockdown periods. The industry has finished the second quarter (Q2) ending June with physical and online visits up 17 per cent compared to a year ago, just two per cent below the traffic level in Q2 2019, according to Toronto-based The NPD Group. Additionally, restaurant-customer spending has grown by 30 per cent in Q2 compared to a year ago, and up nine per cent from pre-pandemic levels.
Quick-service restaurant (QSR) visits, representing 76 per cent of total restaurant traffic, increased by 11 per cent in Q2 compared to last year’s quarter, just two per cent below the pre-pandemic level for the same period in 2019. Full-service restaurant (FSR) visits, on the other hand, representing 24 per cent of all restaurant traffic, were up 44 per cent in Q2 versus a year ago, and down one per cent compared to Q2 2019.
Furthermore, the pent-up demand for restaurant dining was evident in the 193-per-cent increase in visits in Q2 compared to a year ago. Dine-in visits to FSRs increased by 200 per cent while QSR dine-in visits increased by 187 per cent compared to a year ago. Digital orders have declined by eight per cent in Q2, however, digital ordering is 170 per cent above Q2 2019 levels.
Morning meals represents the largest share of daypart traffic at 30 per cent, up 19 per cent compared to a year ago. Lunch visits, representing 26 per cent of daypart traffic, grew by 21 per cent compared to Q2 2021. At the dinner daypart, which holds 25 per cent traffic share, visits increased by 19 per cent and late-night snack traffic, representing 17 per cent of daypart share, was up eight per cent 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, Foodservice Industry analyst at The NPD Group. “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.”