The Canadian Pizza Market

By Elizabeth Kelly

Restaurant sales are on the rise, at least according to Restaurant Canada’s Foodservice Facts Report. From 2016 to 2018, restaurant sales increased by 7.2%, and in 2017, 4.5% of all food orders were pizza.


Changing Tastes

Canadians’ tastes vary from province to province, and have changed in the last few years.   45% of Canadian consumers indicated that they want operators to offer pizzas that are more authentic. They also want to try new things. In the same report, 22% of Canadian’s stated that they’re more interested in trying pizza with unique toppings or ingredients than they were two years ago.

But be warned, even though it was invented in Canada, not all Canadians like Hawaiian pizza.

A quarter of Canadians consider pineapple on pizza to be “blasphemy. ” Some of those surveyed went further still, and stated that they could not be friends with someone who deemed themselves a “Hawaiian pizza enthusiast.” The Hawaiian pizza haters are mostly found in the Atlantic provinces, with nearly a third of the population deeming it blasphemy. The Prairies were more tolerant, with only 15% of those surveyed responding negatively.


Labour Concerns

On the business end of things, restaurants in many provinces are grappling with labour shortages. Identified as the second greatest challenge for foodservice operators, 52% of operators are finding it difficult to fill positions.

In Alberta, as the economy has weakened and costs have increased, the average number of employees per restaurant has dropped from 13 to 11.7 employees.

In Ontario, the government increased the minimum wage to $14/hr. on January 1st, 2018, and the increase has been reflected in menu prices. Many restaurants have increased prices to combat the increased costs. On October 1st, 2020, minimum wage is expected to increase again with inflation.

Restaurant chains that have traditionally offered delivery are also facing new competition for delivery drivers. Since third-party delivery has entered the market, pizza chains have had to make adjustments for the increased competition. In an article about the issue, we spoke with Mike Fredrickson of Papa Murphy's Canada. "It's difficult to find drivers," he told us. "They work for Uber and Skip the Dishes in Alberta. A lot of our franchisees are tapping into family, and posting on Indeed, and Craigslist to find drivers."


Demographics: Do Baby Boomers Eat Pizza?

Demographic trends can sometimes help predict the future of an industry. In Canada, Baby Boomers (now in their 50’s and 60’s) outnumber Millennials (in their 20’s and 30’s). Do Boomers eat pizza? Yes, but not as much as Millennials and Gen Xer’s. According to Technomic, waning pizza consumption in Boomers may be due to health concerns, and a reluctance to eat “fast food.” If you want to entice the Boomers, focus on fresh, healthy-but-tasty menu items. Busy life styles for both Boomers and Millennials mean that convenient options like delco, take-and-bake, and fast casual dine-in are popular.  

The Canadian pizza market is diverse. Differing regional tastes, regulations, and demographics mean the Canadian pizza market is always interesting.


Posted on Fri, Feb 22, 2019 @ 10:02 AM.
Updated on May 27, 2020 @ 5:45 PM PST.

Posted by Elizabeth Kelly

As the Marketing Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions Inc., Elizabeth is the Managing Editor for On Point: The Restaurant Technology Blog. Have an idea for an article? Send her a message!

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