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Press Release

Canadian Diners May See Lower Prices, Healthier Food Options in Restaurants

May 02, 2013

New restaurant survey also shows Alberta fastest-growing market, Baby Boomers fastest-growing demographic

MONTREAL (QC) --- Diners could see intensifying price competition and the addition of even more healthy food options to menus over the next year as well as the introduction of novel restaurant concepts, according to a new survey of Canadian foodservice executives. As restaurant visits by families continue to decline, these changes may be centered around demographic shifts brought on by the mass retirement of Baby Boomers.

When asked their opinions of the biggest short-term changes in the foodservice industry, executives said they expect competition to ratchet up as foodservice providers compete for customers. Moreover, that's expected to increase as new players --- especially fast casual concepts and those from the U.S. --- drive up supply.

"Due to the slow economic recovery in the U.S., we're seeing chains from south of the border kicking the tires here, including Five Guys Burger and Fries, Buffalo Wild Wings and P.F. Chang's," said Edward Khediguian, senior vice president of GE Capital's Franchise Finance business in Canada.

This information is part of the second annual survey of Canadian foodservice executives by fsSTRATEGY on behalf of GE Capital. It's included in the Canadian Chain Restaurant Industry Review, a comprehensive analysis of the state of foodservice companies, which will be released at the fourth annual Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit May 29-30 in Toronto.

Also returning this year are key market insights from the NPD Group. Although 47% of the population over age 16 visited a restaurant daily last year, those age 55 and up were the fastest-growing group of restaurant consumers in Canada, according to NPD's CREST® survey. The average Baby Boomer ate out of the home 174 times last year --- an increase of 11% over the prior year.

Continuing a trend that started in 2008, families had the greatest decline in restaurant visits, down 2 percent over the past five years. However, in recognition of their often-hectic schedules, restaurants are expected to increase take-out and over-the-counter options, in addition to healthier foods, to lure them back over time.

Provincial Dining Trends

  • Ontario has the highest commercial foodservice sales at $20.062 billion, followed by Quebec at $10.485 billion.
  • Alberta has the highest per capita commercial foodservice sales ($1,991), as well as the country's fastest-growing commercial foodservice sales, up 8.9 percent in 2012.
  • Ontario has the largest population but its per capita commercial foodservice sales total $1,485.
  • Manitoba has the lowest per capita commercial foodservice sales at $1,214, followed by Quebec at $1,289.
  • On average, diners in Alberta spend $777 or 64.0% more in commercial foodservice establishments than diners in Manitoba.
  • Nationwide, 62.2% of restaurant expenditures are in chain restaurants; Quebec has the greatest percentage of foodservice expenditures at independent restaurants at 48.4 percent.

Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit Speakers
Registration is currently open for the Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit, which brings together restaurateurs, chain executives, franchise operators, investors, lenders and key suppliers from across the country. The event delivers insights and information with a tight focus that is uniquely Canadian. The entire conference program is designed to stimulate discussions and serve up authoritative opinions from a range of recognized industry leaders.

The keynote speaker will be Dan McPhee, the digital media sales leader of Google Canada. The event will close with Annie Young-Scrivner, president of Starbucks Canada.

Additional speakers include:

  • David Aisenstat, president and CEO of The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
  • Robert Carter, executive director, foodservice, at NPD Group
  • Derek Doke, president of Original Joe's
  • Andy Elder, owner of Grilltime Gourmet Meats
  • Paul Hollands, CEO of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.
  • Justin Lussier, CEO of Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
  • Ryan Smolkin, owner and president of Smoke's Poutinerie Inc.

For more information, go to

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About GE Capital, Franchise Finance
GE Capital, Franchise Finance is a leading lender to the franchise finance market, serving the restaurant and hospitality industries. We specialize in financing regional and national restaurant businesses of all sizes across the country. In the past 11 years, we've provided more than 725 restaurant customers with financing for more than 1,525 property locations. That's in excess of $1.25 billion that we've invested in the Canadian restaurant space. In the Canadian hotel market, we provide financing for nationally known brands in the limited and select-service segments of the industry.

With 19 offices throughout Canada, GE Capital ( offers a wide variety of financial products and services to address commercial financing and fleet management needs in many phases of a business' lifecycle. From equipment finance to working capital and growth financing to large asset-based and restructuring loans, we apply our wealth of industry expertise to develop custom solutions for your company. Some of the industries in which we specialize include transportation, construction, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, mining, energy, wholesale, retail, restaurant and hotel franchise financing. To follow company news on Twitter, go to

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at

Lisa Tibbitts
GE Capital
[email protected]
+1 203 956 4582
+1 203-803-6142

Brigitte Dagnault
GE Capital
[email protected]
514 397 5323
514 346 1207

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