Traffic Jumps 2.3% In Canada First Quarter, Reports NPD

The Canadian foodservice market has consistently been in "less bad" shape than the U.S. market throughout the Great Foodservice Recession. We’ve seen that consistently from the MAFSI Business Barometer, which tracks reps’ equipment and supplies sales in Canada. Now it appears Canada will beat the U.S. to foodservice recovery, too.

The NPD Group recently reported that restaurant traffic in Canada actually rose 2.3% in the first quarter this year, compared with the same quarter in 2009. It was the first positive quarter since the last quarter ’08.

But while Canadian commercial foodservice is attracting more customers, spending rose only 1% total, as the average check fell 1.3% during the quarter. The research group noted that heavy dealing continued. Deal-related visits were up 7% in quick service and 6% in family/midscale operations. Still, it was the second consecutive quarter for growth in spending on Canadian foodservice.

All segments of the industry posted traffic gains. QSR saw traffic rise 3%, casual dining and retail were up 2%, and family/midscale grew by 1%. Family visits, which have been hit hard even in Canada, also grew, which particularly benefited QSR.

Overall it was an encouraging quarter," said Linda Strachan, NPD restaurant industry analyst for Canada, "with signs emerging that the Canadian restaurant industry is poised for recovery."

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