MONTREAL -- A new survey suggests that the increased popularity of working from home in Canada is expected to have major impacts on the restaurant industry. 

Research carried out by Dalhousie University in New Brunswick, in partnership with Caddle, suggests that restaurants could lose up to $20 billion in revenue over the next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 30 per cent of which could be due to people working from home. 

Among the 10,851 people surveyed at the end of last month on remote working and food expenses, 23.6 per cent of Canadians – including 28.9 per cent of Quebecers – said they intend to work from home more often over the next year, though many say they don’t know where they’ll be a year from now. 

Among those who wish to work from home, 57 per cent expect to spend less at restaurants. 

Before the pandemic, 36.8 per cent of people surveyed went to restaurants for a meal or a snack at least twice per week. That number drops to 23.3 per cent among people who were asked about their intentions once the pandemic ends. 

Among respondents who said their employers plan to let a greater number of people work from home, 52.9 per cent say they have the intention to stay home permanently. Among the same group, 70.1 per cent intend on spending much less time and money at restaurants. 

Dalhousie’s lab has concluded that because more people are working from home, at least 30 per cent of restaurant sales could be lost in just one year. 

Restaurants located in Canada’s urban cores will be most impacted, according to the lab’s analysis. 

The survey was held between July 27 and July 29 and contains a margin of error of more or less 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2020.