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Consumer Dining Index Slumps to Lowest Level Since January 2023

Restaurants Canada’s Consumer Dining Index (CDI) dropped unexpectedly in May to 82.6 (July 2023 = 100) from 92.2 in April as fewer Canadians purchased a meal or snack from a restaurant. As a result, the CDI is now at its lowest level since January 2023. The decline in the CDI in May coincides with a recent drop in the Conference Board of Canada’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had fallen in April and May compared to March. The Conference Board of Canada noted that Canadians were feeling less optimistic about their future finances and job prospects.

The lunch daypart saw the steepest decline, with 64% of Canadians purchasing lunch from a restaurant at least once in May compared to 72% in April.  One key factor in this decline was fewer visits by higher income households. After maintaining their visit frequency in recent months, Canadians with incomes of $100,000 or more finally succumbed to the rising cost of living. As a result, the share of these Canadians that purchased lunch at least once in May fell to 71% compared to 81% in April. Consumer’s typically cut back on lunch and snacking visits in order to preserve their restaurant spending budget for higher-priced occasions such as dinner.

The share of Canadians that purchased breakfast or dinner from a restaurant at least once in May also declined.

Looking ahead, the REACT survey indicates that the trends in May could continue into June. The share of Canadians who intend to make fewer purchases from a table-service restaurant in June jumped to 43% compared to 28% in May. This increase was seen across all household income categories and across all age groups.

Findings in the REACT report are from a monthly survey conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of Restaurants Canada with a nationally representative sample of 1,500 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum.

Restaurants Canada’s Consumer Dining Index is calculated as a weighted average of the number of times Canadians purchased a meal or snack from a restaurant in the past month, and then indexed to July 2023.

For the latest report, click here

The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report