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Recently, McCain Foodservice undertook a pilot program with some of Canada’s leading independent restaurant operators to determine whether ‘size matters’ when it comes to menu appetizers.

In recent years, appetizer sales have been struggling, with servings down 6.3% year over year.


A recent consumer survey conducted by McCain Foodservice, examined Canadians’ perceptions of portion size and found evidence to suggest that for many people, less is becoming more:

  • 42% say they eat less than they did 10 years ago;
  • Canadians are twice as likely to say that portion sizes in restaurants are too large than too small;
  • 66% agree that it’s healthier to eat smaller portions;
  • 63% say that for them, dining out is about quality not quantity;
  • And 58% would like to see restaurants offer two sizes of appetizers: small and regular

Recognizing Canadians are looking to try a few new dishes at restaurants but want them in small portions and at lower price points, McCain Foodservice created the McCain Appetizer program, working together with independent operators to determine whether offering snack size apps would increase overall sales or cause consumers to trade down from regular sized apps.


McCain found the key success of the program was offering small portions of craveable and trending apps from McCain like Potato Bites and Battered Cauliflower. As these items are trending on menus across Canada, offering these items at an accessible price point entices consumers to add them to their regular purchase or in addition to ordering beverages.


The program ran over a three week period in select restaurants across Canada. Over the course of the trial, operators found an increase of 10-15% in appetizer sales. The program ensured ease of preparation, incremental profit opportunity and supporting POS tactics.