Shift in Canadian Consumer-Dining Habits Presents New Revenue Opportunities

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TORONTO —  A new report released by Eagle Eye — a SaaS digital-marketing provider — reveals a significant shift in Canadian consumer-dining habits and their attitudes toward food-and-beverage brands, presenting new revenue opportunities for Canadian businesses heading into 2019.

Eagle Eye’s report, Changing Tastes & Flavours: Canadians’ Attitudes Toward Food and Beverage Brands Are Changing. Are F&B Operators Moving Fast Enough?, comes at a time when Canada’s vast geography, rich landscape and varied demographics have created a national food-and-beverage industry that is dynamic, competitive and as diverse as its citizens. But, even with the global economy’s unpredictability and fast-paced technological developments, the Canadian F&B sector has remained resilient.

Based on a survey of 2,000 Canadian consumers and more than 200 F&B professionals, the report looks at the relationship between how consumers engage with F&B establishments across the country and whether operators are equipped with the right tools and technology to meet those expectations.

Key consumer statistics include:
• 71 per cent of consumers have a meal outside of their home up to 10 times per month
• Younger generations and working professionals dine out more frequently, up to 20 times per month
• 62 per cent of consumers spend up to $30 per visit
• 30 per cent of Canadian consumers are currently members of a restaurant loyalty program
• 13 per cent of Canadians use third-party delivery services to order from restaurants, rather than through the restaurant directly

But, while dining out remains at an all-time high for consumers, new data shows many F&B operators are failing to engage with consumers — and losing out on revenue opportunities in the process:
• 38 per cent of consumers have not received communications from a restaurant brand in the past three months
• Only 22 per cent have received a personalized offer to prompt a first time-visit
• 35 per cent have received an offer to prompt a return visit
• 60 per cent of consumers would return for another visit if offered a coupon
• Only 30 per cent of operators use technology, data and insights to identify their customers through promo codes, card payments or loyalty memberships

“Today’s food-and-beverage sector is increasingly competitive, but most operators lack insights into who their customers are, how often they visit and what they’re ordering,” says Tim Mason, CEO at Eagle Eye. “To capitalize on the revenue opportunities our report has uncovered, Canadian brands need to become digitally connected to gather customer data, create a direct-marketing channel and stand out from their competitors. With the right digital infrastructure, food-and-beverage operators can cost effectively drive repeat visits and increase spend per visit.”

The report also speaks to major challenges F&B operators face across Canada, including:
• Fraud continues to impact the industry, with 79 per cent of operators experiencing customer- and staff-related fraud
• 36 per cent of restaurant owners struggle with rising costs, but it’s most prominent among independently operated businesses and those in operation for 20-plus years
• Staff turnover can be as high as 200 to 300 per cent in a given restaurant

Strategies to overcome these challenges and engage with customers in real-time via digital, mobile and social channels are also addressed in the report, to help operators strengthen brand loyalty and drive revenue growth in a highly competitive market.

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