Description

“It’s been over two years of incredible challenges for the foodservice industry. There is positive momentum and broad usage, but lasting behaviour changes will delay its return to pre-pandemic levels.
Looking ahead, consumers’ increased comfort with digital tech opens the door for restaurants to differentiate and improve profitability with streamlined operations.”
– Scott Stewart, Associate Director, Lifestyles & Retail

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Restaurant visits and access modes used.
  • Comparing visit occasions before and during the pandemic.
  • The tactics, if any, that consumers will use to offset rising prices.
  • Usage of restaurant tools like website, apps, coupons and loyalty programs.
  • The parts of the restaurant experience that consumers want to see be improved.
  • How digital tech is used and whether or not consumers want more.
  • The importance of teens to the industry and their top motivators.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-27
                • Opportunities
                  • Foodservice’s relevance is broad and stable
                    • There are countless ways to differentiate
                      • The pandemic has been a turning point for digital tech in restaurants
                        • Challenges
                          • Certain occasions are at risk of being lost long term
                            • Consumers are prepared to respond to inflation
                            • The Market – By the Numbers

                              • A bounce-back year was not enough, and 2022 will be similar
                                • Figure 2: Foodservice sales, 2017-21
                            • Market Factors

                              • COVID concerns have gone down, but are still lingering
                                • Figure 3: Concern about risk of exposure to COVID-19, 2020-22
                              • Restaurants are experiencing food price inflation
                                • Figure 4: Consumer price index (food), 2020-22
                              • Minimum wage increases create another challenge
                                • Related industries are also struggling
                                  • Figure 5: Tourism demand in Canada, Q4 2018-Q4 2021
                                  • Figure 6: Cineplex theatre attendance, 2017-21
                                • A return to normal for pro sports is a welcomed boost
                                  • Figure 7: Couchgating, 2021
                              • Competitive Strategies

                                • Without COVID restrictions, companies are navigating strategically
                                  • Loyalty programs are becoming the norm
                                    • Figure 8: McDonald’s Twitter post, 2021
                                    • Figure 9: Starbucks Twitter post, 2021
                                  • Restaurants will use price increases to offset inflation
                                    • Figure 10: Subway Canada Instagram post, 2022
                                • The Canadian Foodservice Consumer – Fast Facts

                                  • Restaurant Usage

                                    • Most Canadians are using restaurants
                                      • Figure 11: Restaurants used in the past three months, 2022
                                    • Young, employed Canadians are the most common restaurant patrons
                                      • Figure 12: Used any restaurant in the past three months, by age, parental status and employment status, 2022
                                      • Figure 13: McDonald’s Canada Instagram post, 2021
                                    • Quebec remains underdeveloped
                                      • Figure 14: Restaurants used in the past three months, overall vs Quebec, 2022
                                    • Consumers are shifting back to on-premise visits
                                      • Figure 15: Ways of getting meals from restaurants in the past three months, 2021 vs 2022
                                      • Figure 16: Ways of getting meals from restaurants in the past three months, by worry about exposure to COVID-19, 2022
                                  • Restaurant Occasions before and during the Pandemic

                                    • Functional restaurant visits have been relatively stable
                                      • Figure 17: Functional restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic, 2022
                                      • Figure 18: Discretionary restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic, 2022
                                      • Figure 19: The Keg Instagram post, 2021
                                    • Remote workers may stop functional visits from fully rebounding
                                      • Figure 20: At-work restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic, by current working situation, 2022
                                      • Figure 21: Going to/from work restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic, by current working situation, 2022
                                    • COVID-19 is a factor for discretionary restaurant occasions, but not the only one
                                      • Figure 22: Restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic among those who are worried about COVID-19, 2022
                                      • Figure 23: Restaurant occasions before and during the pandemic among those who are not worried about COVID-19, 2022
                                    • Older consumers have had the largest decline
                                      • Figure 24: Discretionary restaurant occasions during the pandemic, by age, 2022
                                  • How Consumers Will Handle Price Increases

                                    • Canadians are worried about inflation
                                      • Figure 25: Top concerns, 2022
                                      • Figure 26: Actions in response to rising prices at restaurants, 2022
                                    • Leveraging savings tools to offset costs
                                      • Chinese Canadians will be the most active with digital coupons
                                        • Figure 27: Coupons and loyalty programs in response to rising prices at restaurants, by race, 2022
                                      • Coupons and loyalty programs will increase in frequency more than reach
                                        • Many will look for lower prices – especially in fast food
                                          • Those with healthy finances are the least likely to seek out lower prices
                                              • Figure 28: Switching to lower prices in response to rising prices at restaurants, by financial situation, 2022
                                            • Adapting ordering behaviour to mitigate cost increases
                                              • Value meals and meat-free options to offset inflation
                                                  • Figure 29: Ordering less food in response to rising prices at restaurants, by age, 2022
                                                • One in five consumers do not plan to make any changes
                                                    • Figure 30: Would not change response to rising prices at restaurants, by employment status, student status and financial situation, 2022
                                                • Using Restaurant Tools

                                                  • Young consumers are driving the shift from sites to apps
                                                    • Figure 31: Digital restaurant resources used in the past three months, by age, 2022
                                                    • Figure 32: Digital restaurant resources used in the past three months, by daily social media usage, 2022
                                                  • Leveraging digital incentives to drive mobile app usage
                                                    • Figure 33: Digital restaurant resources used in the past three months, by loyalty and coupon usage, 2022
                                                    • Figure 34: Tim Hortons Twitter post, 2020
                                                  • French Quebec consumers are the least likely to use digital tools
                                                    • Figure 35: Digital restaurant resources used in the past three months, overall vs Quebec, by language, 2022
                                                  • Chinese Canadians use mobile apps more than others
                                                    • Figure 36: Digital restaurant resources used in the past three months, by race, 2022
                                                  • Self-serve kiosks remain niche and may soon prove redundant
                                                    • Figure 37: Ways of ordering at restaurants in the past three months, by age, 2022
                                                  • Using restaurant tools to save money
                                                    • Figure 38: Savings used at restaurants in the past three months, by household income, 2022
                                                  • Putting loyalty programs into perspective
                                                    • Physical coupons still have relevance today
                                                      • Figure 39: Coupons used at restaurants in the past three months, by age, 2022
                                                      • Figure 40: Fido Twitter post, 2022
                                                  • Priorities for Restaurants

                                                    • Improving loyalty programs is a delicate balance
                                                      • Figure 41: Initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into, 2022
                                                    • Active loyalty users are the most interested in seeing programs improve
                                                      • Figure 42: Restaurants should invest resources into loyalty programs, by current loyalty program behaviours, 2022
                                                    • The menu is a constant focal point for diners
                                                      • Figure 43: Menu initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into, men vs women, 2022
                                                    • Making a healthier, more sustainable menu
                                                      • Figure 44: Menu initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into, overall vs those who believe restaurants should invest resources into sustainability, 2022
                                                      • Figure 45: Quesada Burritos Instagram post, 2022
                                                    • COVID precautions have become an aspect of restaurant service
                                                      • Figure 46: Customer service initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into, by concern about risk of exposure to COVID-19, 2022
                                                    • Restaurants that cater to older women should be particularly focused on COVID-19 safety
                                                      • Figure 47: Restaurants should invest resources into COVID-19 safety, by age and gender, 2022
                                                    • In-house delivery services are an opportunity to increase profitability
                                                      • Figure 48: Restaurants should invest resources into in-house delivery service, overall vs delivery users, 2022
                                                    • Modernizing the restaurant experience
                                                      • Younger consumers are the most interested in these advancements
                                                        • Figure 49: Modernization initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into, by age, 2022
                                                        • Figure 50: Modernization initiatives restaurants should invest more resources into – 18-34s, men vs women, 2022
                                                        • Figure 51: Tim Hortons Twitter post, 2020
                                                      • Investment in design/décor should be reconsidered amid the pandemic
                                                      • The Role of Digital Tech in Restaurants

                                                        • Consumers are conflicted about more technology
                                                          • Figure 52: Attitudes towards innovations in restaurants (% agree), 2022
                                                        • Young consumers are interested in innovations, but still appreciate the good old days
                                                          • Figure 53: Attitudes towards innovations in restaurants (% agree), by age, 2022
                                                        • Half of consumers are open to more restaurant automation
                                                          • Figure 54: Attitudes towards automation in restaurants (% agree), by age, 2022
                                                        • Consumers who have minimal contact with restaurants are the most open to automation
                                                          • Figure 55: Attitudes towards automation in restaurants (% agree), by past three-month access modes, 2022
                                                        • Automation at full-service restaurants must be more nuanced
                                                          • Figure 56: ‘I’d like to be able to digitally pre-order at full-service/sit-down restaurants’ (% agree), by age, 2022
                                                        • Mobile apps’ importance to foodservice
                                                          • Figure 57: Attitudes towards restaurant mobile apps (% agree), by age, 2022
                                                      • Teens at Fast Food

                                                        • Most teenagers use the foodservice industry
                                                          • Taste, convenience and price are key decision factors
                                                            • Figure 58: Teens: fast food restaurant decision factors, 2021
                                                          • Low importance of mobile ordering is illustrative of its value to older consumers
                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                            • Data sources
                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                  • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                        • Terms

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