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B.C. restaurant and pub spending up 10.2 per cent from last year

Trend in June mirrors what is happened across the country
Blue Water Café is known for appetizers such as this salmon carpaccio with spring greens

Restaurant spending data is the newest evidence to confirm that B.C. consumers are shifting spending toward experiences and away from goods.

Statistics Canada data released this morning show that in B.C., as well as the country as a whole, consumers spent 0.5 per cent more on food services and drinking establishments in June than they did in May. In total, that amounted to almost 1.36 billion in spending in B.C.

June restaurant and pub spending was up 10.2 per cent year-over-year in B.C., which was higher than the Canadian average of a 9.9 per cent year-over-year increase.

Canada-wide, restaurant and pub sales in the second quarter of 2023 fell 0.4 per cent, compared with the first quarter. Compared with the second quarter of 2022, however, that spending was up 5.3 per cent. 

Of the second-quarter spending across the country, limited-service restaurants saw sales rise 12.1 per cent. That compared with a 9.9-per-cent bump for full-service restaurants. Receipts at what is known as "special food services" rose by 21.9 per cent. That category includes sales at cafeterias, weddings, concerts and sporting events.

All Canadian provinces saw year-over-year food-service sales increases monthly and quarterly at the end of June.

Much of the spending increases could be attributed to inflation, as restaurant meals have gone up in price.

The province's inflation rate has eased considerably, compared with where it was for much of 2022. In July, B.C.'s inflation rate was 3 per cent annually.

BIV last month reported on retail analysts and studies that identified big-picture trends for how consumers are spending money

The main shifts have been:
• toward experiences and away from goods;
• toward essentials and away from discretionary items; and
• toward travel to make up for lost years during the pandemic when travel had restrictions.

Canada-wide, sales increased in all restaurant subsectors in June 2023, compared with June 2022:
• limited-service restaurant sales were up 11.6 per cent;
• full-service restaurant sales were up 10.4 per cent;
• special food services sales were up 14.6 per cent; and 
• drinking places' sales were up 2.7 per cent.

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