Newfoundland’s restaurants need more targeted assistance to survive COVID-19

Published September 30, 2020

Restaurants Canada welcomes the new Small Business Assistance Program and other commitments unveiled in today’s budget announcement, while calling for more targeted support for the province’s struggling foodservice sector.

ST. JOHN’S — Restaurants Canada welcomes the commitments unveiled in today’s budget announcement to help Newfoundland and Labrador pull through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, while calling for more targeted assistance for the province’s struggling foodservice sector.

“Our sector was one of the first to suffer the impacts of COVID-19 and continues to be among the hardest hit, and going back to this level of shutdown will be a huge blow,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. “We have been asking authorities to target any restrictions to higher risk areas to minimize the devastating consequences for our industry as much as possible.”

“Not only was Newfoundland’s restaurant industry among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19, the sector will also be among the slowest to recover,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada. “The newly announced Small Business Assistance Program is desperately needed and is a great first step. Restaurants Canada looks forward to working with the new Premier and his team to build on the commitments unveiled today, to provide more targeted assistance for the province’s foodservice businesses going forward.”

Newfoundland’s hospitality sector remains hardest hit

According to a recent Restaurants Canada survey:

  • The majority of Newfoundland’s restaurants are still not profitable: 44 per cent of survey respondents said they are operating at a loss and 25 per cent said they are just breaking even.
  • More than half of restaurants still operating at a loss expect to take at least a year to return to profitability:
    • 4 per cent said six months or less.
    • 24 per cent said seven months to a year.
    • 43 per cent said between a year and 18 months.
    • 29 per cent said more than 18 months.

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Newfoundland and Labrador’s foodservice sector was a $1.1 billion industry, directly employing nearly 17,000 people, providing the province’s number one source of first jobs and serving tens of thousands of customers every day. The province’s foodservice industry lost more than 5,000 jobs by April and is on track to lose as much as $528 million in sales in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the impacts of COVID-19.


For more information, contact:

Luc Erjavec
Vice President, Atlantic Canada
Restaurants Canada
C: 902-209-0804

Marlee Wasser
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Restaurants Canada
T: 416-649-4254
Toll-free: 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4254

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