Total commercial foodservice sales in Canada are not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until the fourth quarter of 2022, but the trajectory of the recovery will vary by segment.
After declining by 13.3% in 2020, annual sales at quick-service restaurants are forecast to rebound with an 8.7% increase to $31.8 billion in 2021. Still, sales will remain 5.8% below 2019 levels. In Q1 2022 however, sales at quick-service restaurants are forecast to return to pre-COVID-19 levels thanks to their reliance on off-premise traffic and increasing consumer demand. On the whole, annual sales in 2022 are forecast to grow to $34.5 billion representing a 2.3% increase over 2019.
In contrast, sales at full-service restaurants will take longer than quick-service restaurants to bounce back due to weak economic conditions, combined with slow recoveries in the number of international travellers coming to Canada, and weak business dining. In 2021, full-service restaurant sales are forecast to rebound by a modest 15.4%, following a 38.4% decline in 2020. While sales are forecast to remain weak in the first half of 2021, consumer demand will steadily improve in the second half of 2021. Still, annual sales are not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2023 due to an anticipated boost in the number of tourists and rising business dining.
The recovery for caterers and drinking places will take longer. Caterers experienced the largest decline of any segment in 2020, with revenues plummeting by 49.8%. In 2021, sales will improve by a modest 12.2% due to weakness in transportation foodservice and reduced business dining revenue.
Meanwhile, drinking place sales are forecast to remain below pre-COVID-19 levels until 2025 due to the impact of the pandemic in the near term, and a continued decline in the number of units over the long term. Even before the pandemic, drinking places were struggling as sales dipped 3.1% in 2019.
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