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Nine provinces report lower real restaurant sales in January 2024

Nine provinces report lower real restaurant sales in January 2024

Canada’s commercial foodservice industry began the year on a weak note as inflation-adjusted foodservice sales fell by 2.5% in January compared to January 2023. The combination of elevated inflation, high interest rates and weak economy led to significantly lower real sales at full-service restaurants (-4.9%) and drinking places (-6.3%) in January. The quick-service restaurant segment was not immune as real sales slipped by 0.8%.  January represents the first monthly decline in real foodservice sales since February 2021.

The decline in spending was broad-based with nine provinces reporting lower real sales in January.  Ontario was the one exception with relatively flat (+0.1%) real sales. British Columbia, in contrast, fared the worst as real sales tumbled by a dramatic 8.4%. With the highest household debt-to-income ratio, real sales declined by 9.6% at full-service restaurants and by 9.7% at bars.

The January data is in line with Restaurants Canada’s forecast for a 2.9% decline in real foodservice sales in the first quarter of 2024. Real sales are also projected to decline by 1.9% in Q2, followed by relatively flat sales in the second half of 2024. For more information, click here for the latest Fast Facts.  Restaurants Canada’s latest forecast can be found here.

Chris Elliott

As the Chief Economist and Vice President of Research for Restaurants Canada, Chris Elliott manages and produces a comprehensive research program that has made Restaurants Canada a leading source of information for and about Canada’s $114-billion foodservice industry. Chris tracks and analyzes key industry and economic indicators and translates them into member reports and publications. He also provides research to support Restaurants Canada’s lobbying efforts on issues that affect foodservice operators – from payroll taxes to food costs.

Chris has worked with Restaurants Canada for over 20 years, has a Bachelor of Arts and Master Degree in Economics and specializes in economic modelling and forecasting.