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2012 Canadian Commercial Restaurant Food Service Market Overview: How it differs from the United States

20 Dec

CHD Expert breaks down the 2012 Canadian foodservice market landscape, providing data on different restaurant segments and menu types, with comparisons to the United States.

Chicago-based food service database, marketing, and analytics firm, CHD Expert provides a unique 2012 overview of the Canadian food service market landscape, specifically focusing on full service and limited service restaurants.

The economic environment is stabilizing in the U.S. and in Canada, which brings confidence for 2013. The foodservice industry is expected to steadily grow throughout the year in North America.

The Canadian restaurant industry roughly represents a tenth of the size of the U.S. industry and the market landscape looks increasingly similar across the border. The number of U.S. restaurant chains entering the Canadian market has been significantly growing during 2012.

The first noticeable difference between the U.S. and Canada is the number of limited service restaurants compared to full service restaurants. LSRs represent 40.8 percent of the restaurant industry in Canada, whereas LSRs account for 48.5 percent of the U.S. industry. Consumers tend to look for quicker and cheaper eating options, which explains why the LSR segment has been performing better than FSRs for the past few years. The LSR segment in Canada is expected to gain market share over FSR in the years to come.

When evaluating full and limited service restaurants by menu type, the following types of establishments hold the largest amount of market share in Canada and US:

While the Canadian food service market is substantially smaller than the U.S. market, the top three types of eating establishments are the same in both countries. However there is one noticeable difference between the two countries operator counts by simplified menu type, and it occurs between the fourth most popular menu types. In Canada Beverages rank at the fourth position, as opposed to Mexican in the U.S.

As Mexican food continues to increase in popularity in the U.S. this could become a trend that will soon reach Canada. Therefore it might behoove Canadian establishments to consider this growing menu type as they forecast into the future and attempt to project what consumers will be eating.

The other Asians menu type ranks at the fifth position in Canada, whereas in the U.S. hamburgers occupy that position. One of the explanations is that the Thai menu type has emerged as a favored ethnic cuisine in Canada during 2012. It is not surprising to see hamburgers ranked at the fifth position in the U.S. since it is America’s quintessential comfort food. “Establishments with varied menus hold the most market share,” stated Catherine Kearns, General Manager of CHD Expert. “This data shows that food service establishments who offer diverse menus attract more consumers as they appeal to wider populations and meet consumer preferences. For instance, TGI Fridays has seen an opportunity arise in Canada and entered the market during 2012. As we move into the New Year, existing and aspiring food service operators throughout Canada can consider adding new and varied dishes to their menus in order to meet diverse consumer preferences.

To learn more about these and other resources, contact Nicolas Watson by email: or call 312-768-6913.



Burger and a Beer – The Chicago Way of Life is More Than Just Pizza

18 May

When one thinks of the Chicago dining scene, pizza comes to mind. After all, Chicago is proclaimed the pizza capitol of the nation.

While Chicago has more than its share of pizza places, the fact is that the predominant full service restaurant in the metropolitan area is the local bar and grill. Nearly 12% of all full service Chicago area restaurants are classified as a “bar and grill”, meaning that they generate a significant portion of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages. The Chicago area is dotted with sports bars, microbreweries, and pubs; boasting a much higher percentage of them than New York or LA (3.5% and 2.5%, respectively). Chicagoans spent almost $550 million in bar and grill establishments last year .

These establishments, as a rule, are quite small. About 78% of Chicago area bars and grills have annual revenues of less than $500,000. But being small hasn’t meant much to their survival. Nearly 80% of Chicago’s area bar and grills have been in business for more than five years.

Why Chicagoans prefer their local pub n’ grub to other restaurant types is subject to speculation.  Certainly, the allure of a bar and grill establishment is probably more about the beverages than the food. It is likely that many patrons’ frequent places that are close to home or work. The atmosphere of your local pub can definitely be more relaxing than other establishments. In many cases, a bond with a particular employee or the owner of an establishment results in frequent visits due to camaraderie and loyalty. It is not at all unusual for patrons to stop in virtually every day.

At any rate, what better way to watch the game or enjoy times with friends than having a beverage and a sandwich on your favorite bar stool? In the Chicago area, it is the thing to do.

Because of the preponderance and diversity of the bar and grill market in the Chicago area, marketing to them can be challenging. Cathy Kearns of CHD Expert, a Chicago based food service marketing firm, noted “Our clients are always looking for ways to reach the Chicago area sports bars and pubs. They are spread out and usually small in size but they represent a large part of the Chicago market, so you really need to get to them somehow”.

Database for Foodservice Suppliers

4 Apr

Like most businesses, foodservice suppliers are constantly looking for new ways to both grow their reach in their current markets and expand into new ones. Whether their goal is to promote new products or services, to find new venues to work with, or to beef up sales with current customers, foodservice suppliers need to constantly focus on how they can consistently grow their foodservice operations.

There are many traditional methods used by foodservice suppliers to promote their new products, services and operations. For example: attending restaurant trade shows, buying lists for outbound sales calls, or networking with foodservice distributors, just to name a few.  Some of these methods are tried and true, but as the economy has been struggling, a greater emphasis has been put on utilizing resources (both time and money) to maximize efficiencies throughout any marketing efforts.  And fortunately, as our industry has been advancing so have the technologies that we work with.

At CHD Expert we have created a solution that offers a more effective process that foodservice suppliers can use to increase sales within the foodservice industry. In addition to being the expert in the away from home global foodservice market, CHD Expert also offers a service around foodservice market intelligence. By collecting, analyzing, segmenting, and managing the world’s largest foodservice database, CHD Expert is able to utilize it’s information to craft market intelligence that is ideal and tailored to any individual foodservice suppliers needs. This allows foodservice suppliers the ability to accurately assess a marketplace so they can make an educated business decision based on the most relevant information. In addition to our market intelligence reporting, we can also help foodservice suppliers in their sales efforts by providing complete contact information for an operator in a particular target market or desired segment. If you are a foodservice supplier you should get in contact with us so we can provide you with a free demonstration of our products and services, and find out how we can help you grow your business.

CHD Expert’s Foodservice Industry Database: Services and Solutions

18 Jan

Hello and welcome to the CHD Expert blog!

Today we want to give you a bit more information about the different services and solutions that CHD Expert offers. We know that the foodservice industry is complex, but it’s important for us to help you understand how CHD Expert can help make sense of it all.

First and foremost, our objective is to support foodservice channel members with their sales and marketing strategies by managing and analyzing data for the Away-from-Home Foodservice Market. With our expertise in the foodservice industry, we continue to be the industry’s premier provider of information. CHD Expert is committed to providing superior quality information, value added services and innovative, customizable solutions.

To support our vision, we offer the following solutions to help our customers. We can help you by providing:

  1. Data: CHD FIND: This is our database and it is the most comprehensive and accurate census in the foodservice industry, housing more than 4 million operators worldwide. This is what makes us unique.
  2. Technology:

    • Easy2FIND: This is the platform that powers the FIND Database. It is a cutting-edge, web-based tool to help improve sales and marketing strategies.
    • Market Potential: View food and beverage purchase within any given geography.
  3. Insight: SmartFIND: This is a Business Intelligence program that helps you target prospects with the highest propensity to buy your product.
  4. Services:

    1. FindSweeper: Database cleansing, matching and hosting.
    2. GLAD: Generation of Leads, Appointments and Direct Sales.

In  addition, we currently have offices in North America, Europe and Australia. But, the good news is that we are expanding, and this year we are going to be opening our doors in New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom. We’ll let you know as soon as this happens.

We look forward to using this blog as a place to educate, inform and share all types of content, news and information. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and contact our sales team.  Give us a call at: (312) 768-6900 or email us at

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