TouchBistro’s 2024 Diner Trends Report Shows Canadian Diners Value Money, Convenience, and Quality

From loyalty programs to picking up to-go orders, Canadian diners find ways to get the most bang for their buck

Toronto (March 26, 2024) –  New research from all-in-one POS and restaurant management system, TouchBistro, reveals that Canadians are choosing takeout over dining in, quality over flashiness, and human connection over AI and QR codes. Of the multitude of trends within the report, the overarching sentiment is that the rising cost of living, and subsequent tightening of purse strings, has made consumers across the country into more discerning diners.

By surveying more than 1,000 diners from across the country, TouchBistro’s free 2024 Canadian Diner Trends Report outlines how Canadian dining habits have shifted and what trends restaurateurs should watch. 

Which Generation is Driving Sales?

The report reveals many distinct differences between the dining habits of Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Zs when it comes to both on- and off-premise dining. Most notably, however, is how Gen Z has become the driving force behind dine-in and takeout/delivery sales.

Gen Z consumers are dining in more frequently than any other demographic, with 50 per cent reporting that they dine in weekly or more often – double the national average (25 per cent). They also get takeout and delivery the most often, with 49 per cent of Gen Zs ordering it at least once a week, and Millennials close behind at 42 per cent.

However, younger Canadians are also the most sensitive to price hikes, as they typically have less disposable income. 38 per cent of Gen Zs report that price increases would significantly impact their interest in dining in, versus 24 per cent of Boomers who said the same. This remains true when it comes to ordering takeout: over half (52 per cent) of Gen Z reported that price hikes would have a significant impact on their dining decision.

“Our report shows that Gen Z is a large economic driver for the Canadian restaurant industry, even as they have the least amount of disposable income,” said Samir Zabaneh, Chairman and CEO of TouchBistro. “By providing additional value through loyalty programs, of which one third (33 per cent) of Gen Z are a part of, operators can drive repeat visits and build long-term customer loyalty. At TouchBistro, we have seen firsthand how operators can leverage rewards and loyalty programs in flexible ways to continuously draw in return customers.”

Takeout Takes Over

Among Canadians of all ages, ordering takeout/delivery, instead of dining in, has become increasingly convenient and cost effective. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of Canadian diners are ordering takeout at least once a week, compared to just 25 per cent who say they dine in with the same frequency – a trend largely driven by cost of living increases.

In an additional effort to cut costs, 39 per cent say they prefer to pick up off-premise orders because it helps them skip pricey delivery fees.

Notable takeout trends:

  • When it comes to delivery, Canadian diners are increasingly time sensitive and report that they will wait a maximum of just 32 minutes, on average, for their orders. 
  • When ordering takeout or delivery, the biggest frustration for diners is that the order is inaccurate when it arrives – 36 per cent say it is their number one issue. 
  • The number one most-desired takeout innovation is the option to pre-schedule pickup/delivery orders (29 per cent). At the bottom of the list, only 3 per cent wanted AI-generated order recommendations.

These findings highlight the importance of integrating the right takeout and delivery technology to help restaurants maximize their off-premise offerings, while balancing speed and quality of service.

Rethinking the First Touch

The dining experience begins far before the consumer steps foot into the establishment. Before deciding on a new restaurant, 79 per cent of Canadians say they always or often look at the menu online first. 75 per cent said the same about visiting a restaurant’s website and 65 per cent said the same about looking up a restaurant’s reviews. 

When reviewing menus, 67 per cent of Canadians report they would be very or somewhat likely to pick a restaurant with locally sourced ingredients, and 30 per cent would be very or somewhat likely to choose a place with vegetarian options. Gen Xers are the most influenced by locally sourced ingredients (71 per cent), while Millennials are most swayed by vegetarian offerings (39 per cent), and Gen Zs by gluten-free offerings (34 per cent).

When it comes to deal-breakers, 65 per cent of Canadian diners would steer clear of a restaurant if they heard negative feedback from friends. This is second only to a health inspection warning (68 per cent). Among Gen Z diners, the statistics are even more striking, with only 34 per cent turned off by a health inspection warning, but 58 per cent put off by bad online reviews.

“Consumers’ dining decisions are usually made before they ever step into a restaurant, and there is ample opportunity for operators to create a user-friendly digital experience as an initial touchpoint to draw in new and returning diners,” said Samir Zabaneh. “This includes seamless reservation, takeout, and ordering processes, and an up-to-date, mobile-optimized website where diners can get a full sense of the restaurant’s atmosphere and menu. Particularly in an economic environment where Canadians are being more intentional with their spending, optimization can help restaurants more easily adapt to ever-changing conditions while still maintaining profitability.”

Looking Ahead

As Canadian dining habits continue to be heavily impacted by economic conditions and generational differences, here are five emerging diner trends to watch:

  1. Menu Price Increases Due for a Pause: While inflation has slowed, diners are still feeling the effects of cost of living increases. 30 per cent of Canadians say a price hike would significantly impact their choice to dine at a particular restaurant.
  2. The Value of a Digital-First Approach: This year’s data shows that a lot goes into the decision-making process before a diner even visits a new restaurant. Since a potential customer’s first experience with a restaurant is now a virtual visit, restaurants need to make sure they are giving their digital footprint proper attention.
  3. Delivering Added Value: Value is a major driver for enticing consumers to join both restaurant loyalty programs and email lists, with 36 per cent reporting that they will subscribe to emails for access to discounts or coupons. In order to balance rising costs, today’s operators can offer value by giving diners more flexibility in how they redeem points and allowing them to get what they actually want to order. 
  4. Loyalty Programs Built for Power Users: Loyalty program members are among the most frequent diners, with 33 per cent saying they dine out weekly or more often, and nearly 1-in-10 (9 per cent) reporting that they engage with loyalty programs on a daily basis. In 2024, all restaurants – especially QSRs – should focus on engaging their power loyalty users to reap the most rewards from loyalty programs. 
  5. Restaurant Tech with a Human Touch: Technology has become an integral part of the dining experience, but consumers still crave a human connection. Seeing that most Canadian diners (85 per cent) prefer the face-to-face experience of ordering from a server (versus using a QR code or self-serve kiosk), restaurants need to ensure they are still prioritizing customer service.

For more information, the 2024 Canadian Diner Trends Report can be downloaded for free HERE

To learn more about TouchBistro, go to


We partnered with research firm Maru/Matchbox to survey 1,000 diners in Canada. Our research was conducted from September 12th to September 21st, 2023. Survey results are accurate +/- 3% for the general population of Canadian diners.

About TouchBistro

TouchBistro is an all-in-one POS and restaurant management system that makes running a restaurant easier by providing essential front of house, back of house, and guest engagement solutions on one powerful platform. TouchBistro helps restaurateurs streamline and simplify their operations, increase sales, and deliver a great guest experience. For additional information, visit

Media Contact: Joyce Li | [email protected] | 416-414-4797