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Canadians are dedicated patrons of foodservice outlets with some 94% who have eaten at a restaurant in the three months leading up to February 2016. However, tightening of budgets means that more consumers are spending in moderation and cutting back on treats – including dining out. As such, the industry will see a softening in terms of sales. Consumer behaviour will skew towards more high-value, high-quality options such as fast casuals where one can save on tipping or coffee shops/grocery stores offering hot foods. Restaurants must therefore continue to understand what motivates consumers to dine out and how to attract those who plan on spending less.

This report examines the following issues:

  • The pinch of the economy will make economical foodservice options more appealing
  • Women are less likely to dine in on a weekly basis
  • Consumers are strapped for time and many seek greater efficiency in the dining experience

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Full-service restaurants – Establishments with waiter/waitress service, in which customers order and are served while seated; may also sell alcoholic beverages and offer carryout services.
  • Limited-service restaurants – Establishments providing foodservice where customers usually select and order items and pay before dining. Food/drink may be consumed on-premise, offered as carryout or delivered to the customer’s location and may also sell alcoholic beverages. Excludes snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars.

The market size estimates in this Report cover full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants and other limited-service eating places. These are defined below.

  • Coffee shops: outlets where coffee accounts for a sizeable (usually at least around 40%) part of sales with quite a restricted, mainly packaged, food offer and small amounts, if any, of alcohol.
  • Fast Food and Takeaway: venues that usually have a restricted or set menu, offer takeaways, which account for a significant proportion of turnover and have limited seating (it excludes coffeehouses/shops and other outlets where food sales account for only a small proportion of turnover; and full-service restaurants that generally have large menus which are changed frequently and limited if any takeaway turnover and have waiter/waitress service).
  • Full-service restaurants: full-service/traditional and fast food & takeaway restaurants (the definition includes fast food and limited-service venues, full-service/traditional service venues such as cafés/bistros/brasseries that are not self-service). The full-service/traditional segment usually offers an extensive menu and caters mainly for in-house eaters).

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • The pinch of the economy will make economical foodservice options more appealing
            • Figure 1: Venues dined at, February 2016
          • Women are less likely to dine in on a weekly basis
            • Figure 2: Frequency dined out, by gender, February 2016
          • Consumers are strapped for time and many seek greater efficiency in the dining experience
            • Figure 3: Attitudes towards dining out (any agree), by presence of children, February 2016
          • The opportunities
            • Expanding day parts through snacking options
              • Appeal to women through smaller portion sizes, more healthful offerings and customization
                • Figure 4: Foodservice opportunities, by gender, February 2016
              • Creating FOMO may be particularly effective in increasing foot traffic – particularly for Chinese Canadians
                • Figure 5: Attitudes towards dining out, overall vs Chinese Canadians, February 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Economic pressure on Canadians leads to more conservative spending on non-essentials, including eating out
                  • Immigration may work to counterbalance the effects of an aging population
                    • A ‘baby boomlet’ means a growing need for dining efficiency
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Historic and projected sales performance
                        • Figure 6: Total Canada sales and fan chart forecast for restaurants and other eating places, at current prices, 2010-20
                        • Figure 7: Canada value sales for restaurants and other eating places, at current and constant prices, 2010-20
                      • Segment performance
                        • Sales for coffee shops predicted to slow
                          • Figure 8: Forecast of Canada sales for coffee shops, by value, 2010-20
                          • Figure 9: Canada value sales for coffee shops, at current and constant prices, 2010-20
                        • Fast food and takeaway sales predicted to plateau
                          • Figure 10: Forecast of Canada sales for fast food and takeaway, by value, 2010-20
                          • Figure 11: Canada value sales for fast food and takeaway, at current and constant prices, 2010-20
                        • Restaurant sales are also predicted to flatten
                          • Figure 12: Forecast of Canada sales for restaurants, by value, 2010-20
                          • Figure 13: Canada value sales for restaurants, at current and constant prices, 2010-20
                      • Market Factors

                        • Economic factors
                          • Cost of food has been impacted by inflation
                            • Figure 14: Consumer price index, February 2010-February 2016
                          • The weak Canadian dollar is impacting import costs
                            • Household debt levels are adding pressure to Canadian spending habits
                              • What this means for foodservice operators
                                • Demographic factors
                                  • The population is ethnically diverse and aging
                                    • Figure 15: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                                  • What this means for grocery shoppers and retailers
                                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                    • QSRs and fast casuals are winning
                                      • Snacking and lunch options draw Canadian diners
                                        • The role of technology continues to grow
                                          • The foodservice space becomes more crowded with food halls
                                          • What’s Working?

                                            • Limited-service restaurants and fast casuals deliver on cost and quality
                                              • Lunch as a key eating occasion
                                              • What’s Struggling?

                                                • Full-service restaurants will need to do more to attract customers
                                                • What’s Next?

                                                  • Technology continues to evolve the dining experience
                                                    • The presence of food halls is rising
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • A mature market, snacking and lunch offerings will help increase traffic
                                                        • Quality of food wins over quality of service
                                                          • Regulars want variety
                                                            • TV commercials remain an effective communication tool
                                                            • Dining Out – Where, Who and How Often?

                                                              • Canadians are loyal patrons of foodservice providers
                                                                • Consumers are drawn to lower-cost foodservice providers
                                                                  • Figure 16: Venues dined at, February 2016
                                                                • Parents are most likely to be eating out at fast food restaurants
                                                                  • Some four in 10 who eat out at foodservice operators do so weekly
                                                                    • Figure 17: Frequency dined out, February 2016
                                                                  • Men, fathers and Chinese Canadians are the most likely to be weekly diners
                                                                    • Grocery retailers have good potential to extend their reach – particularly among Millennials and parents
                                                                      • Expansion of QSR menus may be widening the gap
                                                                      • Quality of Food Trumps Quality of Service

                                                                        • Food quality is king
                                                                          • Figure 18: Choice factors (any rank), February 2016
                                                                          • Figure 19: Attitudes towards dining out, February 2016
                                                                        • Quality of food vs quality of service – in their words
                                                                          • Seeing familiar brands helps reinforce perceptions of quality and opens up opportunities for limited-time offers
                                                                          • Value Matters

                                                                            • Diners want more value offerings
                                                                              • Figure 20: Foodservice opportunities, February 2016
                                                                            • Value deals will resonate with the more budget-minded, though communicating these requires a multi-pronged approach
                                                                              • Playing to the audience
                                                                              • Limited-time Offers, Pop-up Events and Secret Menus

                                                                                • Keeping diners engaged by tantalizing the taste and physical experience
                                                                                  • Figure 21: Deal-related attitudes towards dining out, February 2016
                                                                                • Variety for the taste buds will resonate with men
                                                                                  • Millennials want in on the secret – FOMO for pop-ups and secret menus
                                                                                    • Chinese Canadians want it all
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Attitudes towards dining out, overall vs Chinese Canadians, February 2016
                                                                                  • Healthy Eating and Customization are Sought by Women

                                                                                    • The ability to personalize orders and the availability of healthier options will draw women
                                                                                      • Figure 23: Foodservice opportunities, by age of female, February 2016
                                                                                    • Healthier substitutions make an ideal combo – in their words
                                                                                      • Wooing women with portion size options and healthy snacking items
                                                                                      • Efficiency in the Dining Experience and Snacking Opportunities

                                                                                        • Canadians who eat out seek an efficient dining experience
                                                                                          • Figure 24: Efficiency-related attitudes towards dining out, February 2016
                                                                                        • Parents with children under-18 at home are most interested in quicker visits
                                                                                          • Potential lies in expanding foodservice patronage to include snacking
                                                                                          • Connecting with Customers – Commercials and Social Media Presence

                                                                                            • Commercials remain an effective communication tool, though online presence must be managed
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Media-related attitudes towards dining out, February 2016
                                                                                            • Desire for responsiveness on social media is stronger among French-speaking households
                                                                                            • Dining Out – How Canadian Diners Compare to Americans

                                                                                              • Canadians and Americans are alike in their preference for more casual fare
                                                                                                • Grocery stores are encroaching on the dining-in territory
                                                                                                  • How Tim Hortons is winning: coffee shops see greater traction as an eat-in venue amongst Canadians
                                                                                                    • Economic conditions will drive marketing strategies required in each country
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                • Abbreviations

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