Whether driven by tech-savvy Generation X-er’s, busy millennial parents or baby boomers exploring what the world has to offer, delivery has become one of the fastest-growing trends in Canadian foodservice.
According to the latest Restaurants Canada Foodservice Facts Report, delivery sales rose to $2.2 billion in 2018 for quick-service restaurants — representing a 49 per cent increase since 2017 — while full-service restaurants enjoyed delivery-sales growth of nearly 54 per cent, increasing to almost $2 billion.
With the increasing popularity of third-party delivery apps such as UberEats (available in Canada through its partnership with OpenTable), Deliveroo and SkipTheDishes — and as more restaurants across all foodservice segments take on delivery services — diners have more delivery options than ever before at their fingertips.
Chicago-based Technomic’s 2018 Canadian Take-Out and Off-Premise Trends Report shows 58 per cent of Canadian diners believe it’s more convenient to order food for delivery than carry-out. Robert Carter, foodservice consultant with Toronto-based NPD Group, says delivery is now the fastest-growing area of the market overall.
“Dollar value of total delivery is approaching the $4-billion mark,” he says. “And it continues to grow quite aggressively.”
Carter maintains convenience is the overarching factor driving increased delivery services. Although millennials make up most of the market share, convenience makes delivery a cross-generational trend throughout Canadian urban areas.
“Here’s something to think about: the employment rate for women [in Canada] is at one of the highest rates it’s ever been,” he says. “And despite everything, meal prep decision-making is still mostly done by the female head of household. Canadians are consistently looking for ways to carve out more time, and having food delivered is one area where they can easily do that.”
Saving time by having meals delivered is welcome, but there are still areas of delivery service that make Canadian diners wary. While French fries remain the most-popular restaurant side dish, many avoid ordering them for delivery. Technomic’s 2018 Global Takeaway and Delivery study for McCain indicates one-in-three consumers will not order fries for delivery if they arrive soggy.
According to Carter, the next step in the growing delivery trend is the creation of products that are made with delivery in mind — food products proven to travel well while retaining both heat and freshness.
McCain Foodservice has a range of delivery-friendly products on its roster — most recently unveiling its SureCrisp fries, which have been developed to up the delivery game of any foodservice operation. The same Global Takeaway and Delivery Study reports 80 per cent of diners agree — if they were guaranteed to arrive crispy and hot, fries would always be included in delivery orders. This data indicates what many foodservice operators have long since realized: Canadians crave convenient delivery options but are uncompromising when it comes to quality.