Canadian Families Leave the Kids at Home When Visiting Restaurants

Families with kids restaurant visits decline by 3 per cent

Toronto, July 7, 2014 — Restaurant visits by families with kids (those including children under age 18) declined by 3 per cent while adult-only traffic was flat in the year ending February 2014, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Families with kids, or what is called “parties with kids” in industry vernacular, made 51.4 million fewer visits to Canadian restaurants in the year ending February 2014 compared to year ago, according to NPD’s foodservice market research.

Restaurant visits by families with kids dropped across all meal periods, with morning and afternoon snack times at quick service restaurants hit especially hard, finds NPD’s CREST® service, which on a daily basis tracks all aspects of how consumers use Canadian foodservice outlets. Of all restaurant segments, families with kids visited quick service restaurants less often than other segments. Visits by families with kids to quick service restaurants declined by 23.6 million in the year ending February 2014.

“In order to bring back families with kids to the restaurant table, operators and manufacturers need to understand what influences and motivates them to visit,” said Robert Carter, executive director, Canada Foodservice at The NPD Group. “They need to keep in mind that kids are also an important audience since they have considerable influence on restaurant selections.”

Restaurant and other commercial foodservice visits were down by more than 72 million visits overall in the year ending February 2014 compared to year ago. Family dining (midscale) restaurants held up best in the period with a 2 per cent increase in traffic. Visits to quick service and casual dining restaurants dropped by 1 per cent compared to year ago, reports NPD.

“There is currently sluggish restaurant demand, which means operators will battle for market share. Getting families with kids to visit restaurants again is certainly one of the ways in which they can grow revenue and increase share,” says Carter. “To get them back, operators and manufacturers need to understand what’s preventing them from visiting and work toward removing those barriers.”

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