Commercial foodservice sales exceed pre-pandemic levels for first time in March

Published June 1, 2022

For the first time since in over two years, commercial foodservice sales in Canada exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Statistics Canada reported that total foodservice sales rose to $6.8 billion (seasonally adjusted) in March 2022, 4.4% above January 2020 levels.

A loosening of restrictions led to improved sales in March at full-service restaurants (climbing 7% above pre-pandemic levels) and drinking places (but still 16% below pre-pandemic levels).  Sales at quick-service restaurants held steady, up 7% above January 2020 levels. 

Although commercial foodservice sales are now above pre-pandemic levels, this is due in part to higher menu prices. Adjusted for menu inflation, real sales remain 3.6% below pre-pandemic levels.  In real terms, quick-service restaurant sales were flat in March 2022 compared to January 2020 while sales at full-service restaurants were down by 1.6%.  Real sales are still down significantly at caterers (-24.7%) and drinking places such as bars and nightclubs (-18.6%). 

Looking ahead, Restaurants Canada’s REACT Survey indicates that the rising cost of living may deter guests from dining out.  Overall, 26% of Canadians said they would dine out less often in June at a full-service restaurant compared to 18% that said they expect to dine out more often. Similarly, 24% of Canadians said they expect to dine out less at a quick-service restaurant in June compared to 11% that would order more often.

Take a deeper look through more statistics in our monthly Fast Facts by clicking here.

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