Commercial foodservice sales rose to nearly $6 billion in July, thanks to warm weather enticing guests to enjoy patio season across the country, and the reopening of on-premise dining in Ontario in particular. With guests eager to dine out again at restaurants, national foodservice sales were just 4.9% below pre-pandemic levels in July — a sharp improvement over June, when sales were 14.3% below pre-pandemic levels.
July sales were actually 1.1% above pre-pandemic levels at quick-service restaurants — the first segment to cross this threshold. After struggling through a difficult winter and spring, sales at full-service restaurants are now just 3.2% below pre-pandemic levels, as of July. In contrast, caterers continue to struggle with revenues down 40.2% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The foodservice recovery at the provincial level remains mixed, however, with Saskatchewan and Manitoba posting sales above pre-pandemic levels in July, but the rest of the country showing flat or lower sales.
While the overall improvement in foodservice sales is a welcome sign, a Restaurants Canada survey conducted in July revealed that eight out of 10 restaurant operators were still in debt due to the pandemic, and 58% of full-service restaurants and 44% of quick-service restaurants were continuing to lose money, even with patio season in full swing. Restaurant traffic is likely to dampen now that the summer months are behind us, and with the fourth wave of the pandemic hitting some parts of Canada particularly hard. Combined with the closure of patios in the fall, we will likely see a moderation in foodservice sales over the remainder of 2021.
For more information check out the Monthly Fast Facts report here.