Restaurants Canada is disappointed in the federal government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement. The government has missed an opportunity to implement sector-specific support for the restaurant industry, which was the hardest hit by the pandemic. The industry does not want a handout, but rather they need more time for recovery and without more government support, the foodservice industry is running out of runway.
This update has left little optimism for the more than 95,000 restaurant operations who employ over 1.1 million people; working across the country to bring vibrancy and prosperity to thousands of communities. With record-high inflation, the soaring cost of food, and increasing labour shortages, challenges are piling up. Restaurants Canada has been advocating for measures that will support bottom-line growth in the industry. Some of these include:
- Revisiting the CEBA repayment plan by extending the interest-free period by 12 months.
- Allow for restaurant meals to be a deductible business expense, which will increase patronage and traffic for other businesses in downtown cores and community hubs across Canada.
- Maintain the cap the Alcohol Excise Tax escalator at 2% to help reduce the alarming rate at which the operating costs are rising.
- And finally, we are calling on the Government to implement a pilot for a dedicated immigration stream for the hospitality industry.
While the foodservice industry has achieved remarkable growth, forecasted to reach $110B in 2023, this growth has not translated into bottom-line growth for most foodservice businesses, with 51% operating at a loss or barely breaking even, compared to just 12% pre-pandemic.
The economic recovery journey is a long one, and while most of the economy has moved on from the pandemic, the restaurant industry has a long way to go. Restaurants Canada will continue to work in collaboration with the Government of Canada to ensure it continues to move forward with recommendations that render additional gains for foodservice operations from coast to coast to coast.