Canada: solid growth in fast-casual segment

Chicago / IL. (tni) The Top 200 Canadian restaurant chains achieved 29,2 billion CAD in sales last year, accounting for roughly 60 percent of Canada´s total restaurant sales, according to Technomic´s «Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report» developed in partnership with Kostuch Media. Keeping on par with the overall foodservice industry, the largest 200 chains saw sales grow more than four percent in 2013. Additionally, unit growth jumped nearly three percent to total 25’710 stores. 22 fast-casual restaurant chains cracked the Top 200 list representing nearly three percent (795 million CAD) of total Top 200 sales, an increase of 14 percent in 2013. The fastest growing fast-casual chains in 2013 were:

Chain Sales Sales Growth Unit Growth Concept Positioning
Panera Bread Company 17 million USD 85 percent 33 percent Up-scale fast-casual bakery café
Five Guys 63 million CAD 49 percent 32 percent No-frills menu of signature hamburgers
Thai Zone 30 million CAD 40 percent 50 percent Quick and convenient Thai concept
Hero Certified Burgers 39 million CAD 37 percent 46 percent Preservative-free 100 percent angus beef burgers
Thai Express 80 million CAD 32 percent 20 percent Thai dishes served in a speedy format

Source: «Technomic Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report».

Technomic´s Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report found that limited-service chains accounted for nearly 74 percent (21,5 billion CAD) of total Top 200 sales and 86 percent of units (22’073). Sales increased almost five percent from the prior year, and units increased three percent. The fastest-growing limited-service menu segments were «all other» (doughnut, healthy, other beverage, other ethnic, poutine and snack), Asian and burger—up ten percent, seven percent and six percent, respectively.

Full-service chains saw sales grow three percent to 7,7 billion CAD in 2013. Overall, full-service chains netted an increase of almost two percent in unit count to a total of 3’637. The full-service segment accounted for 26 percent of sales and 14 percent of Top 200 units.

«Growth in the fast-casual sub-segment is intensifying», said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. «Burger, Mexican and Asian fast-casual concepts are poised for greater expansion. With a focus on freshness, quality, customizable menu offerings and an appealing ambiance, they are in a sweet spot between fast food and full service. In a highly competitive climate, differentiation is key, and fast-casual restaurants are hitting the mark».

Technomic´s updated Top 200 report is the only publication that provides a comprehensive executive report (featuring key themes, forecasted outlook and opportunities) and rankings of the Top 200 Canadian chain restaurant brands by 2013 sales, units, and alphabetically. Findings include:

  • Tim Hortons firmly maintained its top spot with Canadian sales of over six billion CAD in 2013, up four percent from 2012. McDonald´s (four billion CAD) and Subway (1,6 billion CAD) were again positioned at numbers two and three.
  • The 22 fast-casual chains within the Top 200 are comprised of Asian (six), burger (five), bakery café (four), Mexican (two), other sandwich (two), chicken (one), Greek (one) and healthy (one) concepts.
  • The full-service steak menu category enjoyed the biggest increase in sales (seven percent) and over a six percent increase in units. The varied menu category saw an increase of nearly four percent in sales and three percent growth in units.
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