According to a new report, in the next year, the Canadian restaurant industry could lose up to $20 billion in revenue. The study was done by a team from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, in partnership with the app Caddle. They carried out their study at the end of July on 10,851 Canadians’ future work plans and food expenses.
The survey found that 40% of the respondents don’t or won’t know if they’ll be able to work remotely more frequently, while 24% plan to work from home more often in the next year. Moreover, 57% of those people who said they intend to telecommute also plan to spend less money at restaurants as a result. Sylvain Charlebois, the scientific director at the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, stated that people would be consuming food differently and won’t be showing up at coffee shops and restaurants as regularly as they used to.
About 22% of respondents, when asked about their employers’ intentions, stated that their companies are planning to allow them to work from home more frequently. About 53%, of those who said their employer plans to allow more people to work from home, stated that they intend to do it permanently. Furthermore, a whopping 70% of those who said they plan to telecommute permanently also expect they will use little time and money at restaurants. Interestingly, 35% of the respondents who said their employers were considering allowing staff to telecommute, said they plan to change place within a year.
Sylvain Charlebois stated that people are in trouble, mainly if they are located downtown and are highly reliant on their address to generate business. He also confirmed that retailers in cities’ downtowns would be compelled to adjust and alter their business model if there are fewer people living and working there as they are heavily dependent on traffic. He added that it could be a chance for restaurant operations to save some money. Charlebois also stated that the researchers used the data collected from the survey together with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to calculate the potential hit to revenues for the industry in the next 12 months.
Charlebois indicated that they do consider these estimates to be conservative. Charlebois noted that there could be other explanations as the change to faraway work may justify a section of the reduction in visits to restaurants. These include worries about finances and contracting the virus. He confirmed that they know pretty much that the industry will see its pie shrink significantly. They concluded that these changes in dining habits could have long-lasting impacts on the industry even after the pandemic is over.