May 7, 2013

TORONTO – With patio season upon us, more than one-third of restaurateurs expect sales growth to pick up steam over the next six months. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (CRFA’s) Restaurant Outlook Survey for Q1 of 2013 shows operator optimism mirrors the economic outlook – Canada’s economy is forecast to gain momentum this quarter and grow stronger in 2014.

“With the bad weather behind us, restaurant operators are feeling more positive about business in the coming months,” says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. “As a result, restaurateurs will be on a bit of a hiring spree – 27% plan to hire more employees over the next six months, up from 16% in Q4 of 2012. As students get off school for the summer, this means more youth jobs in the restaurant industry, which has positive ripple effect, socially and economically, in communities across the country.”

Only 19% of respondents expect a slowdown in sales in the next six months, and the remaining 47% expect sales to grow at a steady pace.

Survey highlights
Despite the optimistic outlook, restaurateurs had their share of struggles in Q1 of 2013. According to the survey:

  • 67% of operators cited rising food costs as their number one concern, even though food prices have recently moderated;
  • 48% noted rising labour costs impacted business;
  • 33% said lacklustre customer demand affected business – a possible reflection of weak consumer confidence and high household debt levels; and
  • 50% blamed bad weather for hurting February sales.

“No doubt, it was a challenging first quarter for many restaurateurs,” says Whyte. “Nevertheless, the majority of operators plan to keep menu prices steady over the next six months, which is great news for Canadians looking to dine out.”

About the survey
CRFA’s Restaurant Outlooks Survey tracks business conditions for nearly 6,700 foodservice establishments across Canada. For more information, visit

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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