Diners are eager to frequent on premise food venues

Insights from CGA show high intent to return, with outdoor dining and proof of vaccine measures helping drive confidence.

Diners are descending on restaurants and bars in droves, particularly casual eating spots, according to the latest insights from strategy firm CGA.

The survey of 1170 Canadians reveals that 84% of respondents have visited on premise for food since venues reopened, while 71% of consumers plan to visit bars and restaurants over the next two weeks for food-led occasions.

Moreover, 52% of these are casual dining spots, with 48% independently owned restaurants.

Bars, on the other hand, are less in-demand right now, with 32% of respondents having been out for a drink since mass reopenings, and 30% of respondents planning on darkening the door of a local watering hole over the next two weeks.

Beer is the most popular beverage of choice for on premise consumption (46%), followed by table wine (28%): 56% of drinkers noted an increase in booze prices.

Not surprisingly, those who have had one or both of their COVID-19 vaccinations report the highest frequency of restaurant and bar visits. A catch up with friends is the main occasion cited (42%), and a treat or reward is also a popular motivator (34%) across all age demographics. Most have gone out joined by friends (48%), followed by a partner or spouse (45%).

“Canadian consumers have expressed positivity in visitation to bars and restaurants with the implementation of vaccine passports and indoor seating, which is an important consideration for the hospitality sector at this time,” says Mitch Stefani, CGA client solutions manager for the Americas.

To encourage visits, social distancing, proof of COVID-19 vaccine, and masks are the most important COVID-19 measures to implement should Delta cases continue to rise.

According to the report, outdoor seating continues to be popular with consumers, with 90% reporting they are comfortable visiting such venues, compared with 60% for indoor only. Also, only a third of respondents are comfortable with fellow guests not wearing masks within on premise settings when away from their tables.