The recovery in commercial foodservice sales in Canada appears to be losing some momentum based on the latest data from Statistics Canada. Despite relatively good weather across the country and patios being open, foodservice sales rose by a modest 6.4% in August compared to July (on a seasonally adjusted basis). This is a notable slowdown from the 13.7% month-over-month increase in July over June; and the 28.6% increase in June over May.
As a result, total commercial foodservice sales in August remained 22% below pre-COVID-19 levels. By comparison, total retail sales were 2% higher in August compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, while food and beverage stores remained up by 8%.
Anecdotally, Restaurants Canada heard from many foodservice operators that their sales slumped in the second half of August as people stopped travelling and were busy getting the kids ready for school.
On a year-over-year basis, commercial foodservice sales were down 22.1% in August compared to August 2019. While sales at quick-service restaurants reported an 8.9% decline, spending fell by 27.9% at full-service restaurants and by 36.7% at drinking places. Declines in business dining and other institutions resulted in a 57.5% drop in caterer revenues.
At the provincial level, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia posted the largest declines. Saskatchewan, in contrast, reported the smallest drop, with a 9.1% decrease in commercial foodservice sales. While full-service restaurants, caterers and drinking places in Saskatchewan continue to experience steep declines, quick-service restaurants reported a 5% increase compared to August 2019.
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