Bah-Humbug: Foodservice sales tumble in December

Published February 25, 2021

Canada’s commercial foodservice industry ended the year on a sour note as seasonally adjusted sales fell for the third consecutive month in December 2020. This marks the lowest monthly sales since June 2020.     

Overall, foodservice sales in Canada were $4.25 billion in December (unadjusted for seasonality), down 35.5% compared to December 2019.  Mandated closures of non-essential businesses led to a steep drop in revenues at full-service restaurants (-52%), caterers (-55%) and drinking places (-63%).  In contrast, quick-service restaurants were able to rely on off-premise visits to contain the decline to -11.5%. 

Provincially, the hardest-hit provinces in December were Quebec (-43%), Ontario (-37%) and Alberta (-37%).  There were very few silver linings in the Statistics Canada data.  One, however, is that quick-service restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island posted modestly higher sales in December 2020 compared to December 2019 – up 4.3% and 3.9% respectively. 

Overall, foodservice sales in Canada fell by a record 28.2% in 2020 to $55.3 billion. This represents the lowest annual foodservice sales since 2012.

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