How to Beat the January Lull in Foodservice Sales

Published January 20, 2023

As January is typically a slower month for the restaurant industry, a greater share of Canadians said they expect to make fewer purchases from a quick- or table-service restaurant in January compared to December.

According to Restaurants Canada’s latest REACT Survey, 36% of Canadians said they expect to make fewer purchases from a table-service restaurant in January, while 32% said they expect to make fewer purchases from a quick-service restaurant. While there has been a slight upward trend in these figures since September, there has not been an alarming increase despite the rising cost of living and fears of a possible recession.

Nevertheless, nearly six in 10 Canadians still intend to make a purchase from a quick-service restaurant about the same in January compared to December. This figure slips to 52% for table-service restaurants. And there may be an opportunity to win over new guests as roughly 12% of Canadians expect to dine out more often at either a table- or quick-service restaurant.

Younger Canadians, between the ages of 18 to 34, are the most complex of the age cohorts. While 40% of 18 to 34 year olds expect to frequent a table-service restaurant less often in January, the highest of any cohort, 18% intend to frequent a table-service more often – also the highest of any cohort. 

Although not as dramatic, while 33% of 18 to 34 year olds intend to frequent a quick-service restaurant less often, 19% intend to purchase from a quick-service restaurant more often. In the end, the overall performance of Canada’s foodservice industry could come down to how many 18 to 34 year olds actually order out from a restaurant in January, versus those that choose not to.

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January can be a real challenge for restaurants but it’s also a good time to do some strategic thinking about 2022, and the year ahead. What worked, what didn’t worked, what can we do better to drive customer satisfaction and profitability? Build a 2023 marketing calendar, and proactively plan promotions, specials and menu offerings around holidays and local events. Reconnect with your local chamber and retails; all of which are facing similar challenges. In order to help you stay profitable, draw on friends, family and loyal customers. This is the time to reset for the year ahead.

For the latest REACT Survey, please click here.

Jess Landesman

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