Foodservice industry traffic in Canada reaches near pre-pandemic levels in May, missing mark by just 1% versus May 2019, says NPD Group; consumer visits to restaurants and other commercial foodservice outlets up 16% year-over-year in May

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July 12, 2022 (press release) –

Foodservice industry traffic in Canada reached near pre-pandemic levels in May, missing the mark by just 1% versus May 2019, reports The NPD Group. Consumer visits to restaurants and other commercial foodservice outlets increased by 16% this May compared to a year ago. 

Driving the May traffic growth was a 321% gain in dine-in foodservice visits compared to a year ago. However, even with the triple-digit growth, dine-in visits, which were hit hardest by pandemic-related restrictions, are still 28% below May 2019 traffic, according to NPD’s continual tracking of the Canadian foodservice industry. Off-premises ordering from foodservice outlets — carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery —, while currently down from the strong growth experienced during the pandemic lockdown periods, remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels. For example, foodservice delivery was down 9% this May compared to a year ago, but orders were 79% above the May 2019 level. 

Morning meals, which includes breakfast and morning snack periods, were the strongest performing daypart in May, with visits up 24% compared to a year ago and down 1% from May 2019. Lunch was close behind with a 21% increase in traffic versus a year ago and an 8% decline in visits from three years ago. The lunch visit decline from the pre-pandemic traffic level shows that most consumers have not resumed their pre-COVID routines, like workday lunches. Foodservice visits at supper grew by 14% this May compared to last year and were up 7% compared to May 2019.  

“While the recovery continues to take hold, so does the re-definition of the foodservice landscape,” says Vince Sgabellone, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “The industry needs to adjust to these changes by understanding how consumers currently use foodservice throughout the day and how they will use it in the future.”  

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