FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2013

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s restaurant industry appreciates the provincial government’s commitment to balance the budget and welcomes the April 1 transition to PST which marks the return of provincial food tax fairness.

The combination of restaurant meals automatically becoming 7% cheaper and disposable income significantly increasing for consumers will boost sales growth in 2013. Liquor mark-ups will also be reduced to fully offset the additional 3% tax on liquor that takes place when the PST is reintroduced.

“The 2.7 million guests served every day by British Columbia’s 12,000 restaurateurs look forward to paying 7% less for restaurant meals,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President, Western Canada, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

“By demonstrating fiscal discipline and balancing the budget, the government will save all British Columbians from paying additional taxes on interest payments in the future,” said von Schellwitz.

CRFA forecasts that with the return to the PST restaurant meal exemption, a stronger economy, and an increase in disposable income, B.C.’s restaurant industry will grow a healthy 5.1% in 2013 – a stark contrast from the 2.3% drop in restaurant sales in 2011 after the HST. In fact, since the HST was implemented British Columbia’s cumulative restaurant industry sales growth (2%) significantly trailed sales growth for the rest of Canada (9%).

B.C.’s $10-billion restaurant industry is an important economic force, representing 4.5% of the provincial economy and directly employing more than 166,000 people, or 7.2% of the provincial workforce, in every B.C. community.

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 employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

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