foodservice industry

The current state of the foodservice industry

As the foodservice industry continues to recover through elevated food prices and ongoing labour challenges, what does it look like in today’s economic landscape? Givex’s annual survey provides insight into diner preferences and industry trends.

While inflation and a possible recession have motivated many Canadians to cut back on discretionary spending, the study found that 28 per cent of consumers say they are dining out more often than they did in 2022.

In today’s competitive market, customer retention is critical. As costs continue to rise, customers are taking advantage of loyalty programs, with 98 per cent of consumers saying that they have used rewards or have made a purchase with loyalty points. Of that majority, 20 per cent use rewards or loyalty points to make a regular purchase about once a month.

As Mo Chaar, chief commercial officer at Givex, explains “… the data is clear: promotions, discounts, and loyalty programs are key to customer retention for restaurant operators.”

In fact, four-in-five consumers say that promotions like coupons, discounts, or loyalty programs are a motivator for them to dine out, whether when visiting a restaurant or dining off-premise.

Loyalty programs seem to be key in engaging customers, with people belonging to multiple programs.  57 per cent of Canadians belong to between two and four loyalty programs, and 20 per cent are members of five or more programs.  With these levels of adoption, loyalty seems to be an important way to reach restaurant clientele.

An increased comfort level with technology from consumers may afford restaurants the opportunity to better manage labour by taking advantage of some of the newest rising technology tools. 69 per cent of consumers say they feel comfortable using technology to view menus or place orders, up four percent from last year, so here’s an opportunity for the foodservice industry to step up their technology game to meet the rising comfort and use.

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Even with the possibility of a looming recession, restaurants can capitalize on loyalty and technology adoption to keep customers engaged, build loyalty, and boost return visits.