How will restaurant guests be spending their money in 2024?

As inflation continues into next year, consumers will continue to shift their spending habits, adjusting how they use their dollars for dining. According to Canada’s Food Price Report, 80.3 per cent of Canadians are expecting food prices to continue to rise. A recent study conducted by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in partnership with Caddle gives further insight into these shifts and how they might affect the foodservice industry.

This expectation is affecting consumer fund allocation, as 43 per cent of people plan to focus on promotions, 34 per cent plan to use coupons, and 33.6 per cent will be focusing on loyalty programs.

The study also reveals a projected decline in restaurant visits for 2024, with 38.3 per cent of people planning to eat out less often, and 12 per cent not at all. This could seriously impact restaurant revenues, potentially making way for more competition to emerge, with grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations already competing in the foodservice space.

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New Year’s resolutions were also a part of the study, revealing that 14.9 per cent of Canadians plan to make healthier food choices, followed by cooking more at home, and drinking more water. These are trends that restaurants need to pay attention to in order to capture the attention of health-conscious guests.

These findings highlight the fact that Canadians are concerned with costs, adjusting their discretionary spending, and shifting their food choices and consumption patterns. With these shifts in mind, prioritizing value, making the most of loyalty programs, and standing out from the competition should be top of mind for restaurateurs. It’s vital that restaurants take a good look at their margins, assess their customers, and adjust accordingly to prosper into 2024 and beyond.