Half of Canadians plan to spend less on restaurants during COVID-19 recovery: Stats Can

51 per cent of Canadians say they plan to spend less money at restaurants as the economy reopens


After COVID-19, restaurants will be in for a long, tough haul.

According to a new Statistics Canada survey, Canadians are planning to spend less on eating out and ordering take-out food as the economy reopens.

The nationwide survey, titled “Expected changes in spending habits during the recovery period“, was released Wednesday.

Canadians were asked which items they intend to spend less, more and the same amount on compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The largest proportions of Canadians who indicated that they wanted to reduce spending were often in areas related to discretionary spending,” authors Farhana Khanam and Sharanjit Uppal wrote.

According to the study, the item that had the “highest proportion of Canadians stating that they expected to spend less compared to prior to the pandemic was eating at a restaurant,” at 51 per cent.

“This was followed by entertainment (37 per cent), clothing or apparel (32 per cent), recreation (32 per cent), and ordering take‑out food (31 per cent),” the authors noted.

By contrast, Canadians plan to spend more on essential items, including groceries.

In the study, 19 per cent of respondents reported that they would spend more on groceries, 10 per cent said that they would spend less, and seven in 10 stated that they would spend about the same.

“These results are not surprising, given that a significant proportion of respondents stated that they would spend less on eating at restaurants and ordering take‑out food, thus increasing the demand for groceries,” according to the study.

The paper also noted that the most recent Consumer Price Index release shows the price of certain food items has increased in recent months.

“Other spending categories that had more people saying that they would be spending more rather than less were education (with 18 per cent expecting to spend more and 12 per cent expecting to spend less), utilities (16 per cent vs. 7 per cent), housing (8 per cent vs. 5 per cent), and medicine (5 per cent vs. 4 per cent,” the study stated.

Projected post COVID-19 restaurant spending varied slightly by age group: 48.7 per cent of respondents between the ages of 15 and 34 reported that they plan to spend less.

For people aged 35 to 54, 53.8 per cent indicated that they will spend less on restaurants. That number decreased to 50.4 per cent for ages 55 and over.

Financial difficulties and health concerns were the major factors behind shifts in planned expenses.

“Among those who reported that they were very concerned about the health risks of ‘going to restaurants and bars’, for instance, 67 per cent said that they would spend less on eating at a restaurant, compared with 29 per cent among those who reported that they were not at all concerned,” the study stated. 

In April, a survey from Restaurants Canada suggested that 1 in 2 restaurants feared they would not survive the pandemic.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.

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