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Restaurant Visits Moderates in April Due to Pullback In Snacking Purchases

Fewer Canadians purchased a coffee or snack from a restaurant in April 2023. While this was evident across all age groups, Canadians 55 and older purchased fewer snacks at least once in April, and fewer 18 to 34-year-olds bought a snack once a week or more from a restaurant. We are closely watching this category as an early indication of an economic slowdown.

Overall, Restaurants Canada’s Consumer Dining Index* (CDI) slipped from 97.2 in March 2023 to 91.9 in April 2023 (July 2022 = 100) due to fewer snacking purchases and fewer Canadians purchasing dinner from a restaurant once a week or more. The Consumer Dining Index closely tracks real foodservice restaurant sales data as reported by Statistics Canada, making the CDI an early indicator of the future direction of foodservice sales. 

Looking ahead, 38% of households with an annual income of less than $50,000 said they expect to eat at a table-service restaurant less often in May 2023, up from 35% in April 2023.  In comparison, 35% of households with an annual income between $50,000 and $100,000 said they intend to eat at a table-service restaurant less often in May 2023, up from 31% in April 2023, while only 29% said they expect to go out to a QSR (quick-service restaurant) less often in April 2023, unchanged from last month.

For more information, please click here to download the latest REACT survey.

*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 2022.

As the Chief Economist and Vice President, 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 $100-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 modeling and forecasting.