Winning Them Back


TORONTO — Recession or no recession Canadian full-service diners are still clutching their wallets tightly, conserving cash and dining out less — a problem that may be remedied with some sound operating principles.

This comes after a report from the Toronto-based market research company, the NPD Group, commissioned by Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), to understand why full-service restaurant traffic is declining and what can be done to rectify the problem.

“Consumers often view dining out as an indulgence, something that is easily achieved at home for a much lower cost when it’s time to tighten the purse strings,” says Robert Carter, executive director, Foodservice, NPD Group, of the study, which found six out of 10 Canadians are reducing spending by cutting back on eating out at full-service restaurants. “The good news is our custom research for FCPC found consumers want to eat out more often, and restaurant operators can win their business back by listening to consumer feedback and offering a premium dining experience that cannot be recreated in the home.”

To that end, eight out of 10 consumers would dine out more often if there was an improved offering. Canadians are looking for incentives such as free Wi-Fi, promotions and specials as well as low, competitive pricing as the top three areas for improvement. Plus, 72 per cent of respondents say they need to feel more valued and are looking for great tasting food, an enjoyable dining atmosphere and friendly, fun and professional service.


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