Canadian foodservice sales dealt big hit by COVID-19: Ipsos

Press Release

Ipsos’ Foodservice Monitor (FSM) has reported a combined $3-billion decline for Canadian full-service and quick-service restaurants in March 2020, compared to March 2019.

Asad Amin, Ipsos’ Vice President, noted in a recent statement from the market research company that full-service locations have seen marked drops in visits and therefore overall sales. “There is a loss of over a quarter of a billion restaurant visits versus a year ago, so it is little wonder full-service restaurants have seen a sales decline of 67 per cent,” he said. “Quick-service restaurants have benefited from the takeaway nature of their business; however they too have seen business go down by at least a third.” Amin added that, in total, March 2020 foodservice sales have dropped collectively by 47 per cent versus 2019, and that similar numbers are expected for April 2020.

Several provinces have already announced an easing of restrictions, but that will not mean business as usual. Limited seating will be the new safety norm, and Ipsos reports that 68 per cent of Canadians say they will be nervous to leave their home, even when businesses reopen. Though it is difficult to predict how the foodservice industry will perform for the remainder of 2020, Ipsos’ FSM tracking and historic data shows the Canadian foodservice sector will likely contract by 26 per cent, at best.

However, there have been some bright spots. Delivery channel orders grew by 36 per cent in the second half of March compared to a year ago. This includes both third party aggregators, such as SkiptheDishes, as well as traditional delivery focused operators like Domino’s. In fact, pizza operators collectively grew traffic by double digits in the second half of March compared to the first. Meanwhile, new Ipsos data reveals a marked improvement in consumer perceptions about the foodservice industry itself. Amin said this shows the impact strategic marketing can have.

“With health and safety being the top concern for consumers, businesses are releasing marketing and communications that address this fear by highlighting the safety precautions they are implementing,” Amin explained. “Their efforts are having an immediate impact. Over the past two weeks, a growing number of Canadians (62 per cent) believe that restaurants are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Ipsos Foodservice Monitor will be releasing its April study results in mid-May. For more information, please contact Asad Amin at asad.amin@ipsos.com.

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