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Research: Canadian Full-Service Restaurants Should Expand Convenience and Differentiation

A restaurant researcher finds that full-service restaurants in Canada are slowing as competition heats up from the more nimble fast-casual segment. The researcher, Chicago-based Technomic, says that full-service restaurants need a better answer in growing demand through a convenient, differentiated dining experience.

There are opportunities for full-service restaurants from other segments, such as attracting customers away from the casual dining market. According to Technomic, more consumers in 2017 versus 2014 think traditional casual-dining restaurants lack differentiation when it comes to the overall dining experience and food offered – as a result these consumers are also increasingly likely to visit independent restaurants. And upscale casual-dining customers say the ability to make a reservation and order/pay using tableside technology are the top concept attributes that would be most likely to make them visit more.

"While today's consumers crave convenience, they also want a unique meal in a unique setting. Innovating menus with new ingredients, flavours or preparation styles and integrating distinctive decor elements like art, furniture and glassware can help provide the unique experience that will draw in consumers" says Anne Mills, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. "Amenities such as the ability to make reservations and pay tableside boost the convenience of dine-in occasions while takeout and/or delivery helps meet demand for convenient, off-premise occasions."

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