July 22, 2013

OTTAWA — The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) will be keeping a close eye on tomorrow’s decision from the Competition Tribunal on unfair and anti-competitive rules imposed on merchants by Visa and MasterCard.

CRFA is looking for the Tribunal to strike down three rules that are extremely costly to merchants and ultimately lead to higher prices for all consumers:

  • The rule that merchants must accept all cards from a credit card network, including premium cards with much higher fees,
  • The rule that merchants cannot charge a fee on transactions made with Visa and MasterCard; and
  • The rule that prevents merchants from encouraging or discouraging customers from using certain credit cards.

Restaurants are particularly sensitive to rising credit card fees because of the industry’s thin profit margins and the fact that these fees are applied not only to the cost of the meal, but also on the tax and tip. The amount restaurateurs pay to process a credit card can be higher than the profit margin on the meal they sell.

“If credit card companies keep introducing richer and richer premium cards with higher and higher fees, restaurant owners need options to control their costs,” says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. “A clear ruling from the Tribunal should help deliver savings to consumers, particularly those who are subsidizing bonuses and trips for higher-income premium card holders.”

CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s restaurant industry generates $65 billion annually in economic activity and employs more than 1.1 million people in communities across the country.


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