CHICAGO – Approximately one-third of Canadian consumers said they would visit traditional or upscale casual-dining restaurants for lunch more often if their meal could be served in 30 minutes or less, according to a new study by Technomic.

The survey points to strong opportunities for Canadian chains, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president. “Canadian operators are in a great position to drive lunchtime traffic by offering flexible lunch options, or perhaps by simply making consumers aware of options they don’t yet know are available,” he added. “The casual dining marketplace is not as saturated in Canada as it is in the US, so chains that are able to position themselves well in this day part could really develop an advantage.”

Technomic has developed its Future of Casual Dining: Canadian Consumer Trend Report to help operators and manufacturers stay on top of casual-dining trends and evolving consumer needs.

Study highlights include:

  • Approximately one-quarter of consumers said they visit traditional casual-dining restaurants once a week or more.

  • Four of five consumers who said they have been patronizing specific locations based on promotional offers as a way to cut back at traditional and upscale casual-dining restaurants indicate they will continue doing so even after a fully realized economic recovery.

  • Consumers expect continuous innovation at casual-dining chains, with more than two in five upscale casual-dining customers and one in three consumers who visit traditional casual-dining restaurants indicating it is very important that these locations offer menu items and limited-time offers featuring new and unique flavors.