Restaurants Canada calls on British Columbia’s next government to support foodservice recovery

Published October 6, 2020

Most of the province’s restaurants are still not profitable and the majority of those operating at a loss expect to take a year or more to recover.

VANCOUVER — Restaurants Canada is urging that all parties seeking to form British Columbia’s next government adopt recommendations to help the province’s restaurants pull through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Restaurants are critically important to creating jobs, economic growth and vibrant neighbourhoods,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. “Restaurants Canada looks forward to working closely with British Columbia’s next government to ensure foodservice businesses have what they need to continue contributing to the province’s recovery.”

British Columbia’s restaurants expect a year or more to recover

Not only was British Columbia’s foodservice industry among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19, the sector will also be among the slowest to recover.

According to a Restaurants Canada survey conducted between Sept. 15 and Sept. 24:

  • The majority of British Columbia’s restaurants are still not profitable: 45% of survey respondents said they are operating at a loss and 20% 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:
    • 6% said 6 months or less.
    • 20% said 7 months to a year.
    • 46% said between a year and 18 months.
    • 29% said more than 18 months.

A menu for recovery

Restaurants Canada has shared recommendations to support the recovery of British Columbia’s foodservice sector with all major parties seeking to form the next provincial government.

“With colder months approaching, restaurants will need continued assistance to keep fulfilling their vital role within British Columbia’s economy,” said von Schellwitz.

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia’s foodservice sector represented 5 per cent of the province’s GDP and was the province’s third-largest private sector employer. By April, COVID-19 had resulted in more than 112,000 foodservice workers losing their jobs or having their hours cut down to zero. While foodservice employment in British Columbia increased by more than 97,000 jobs between May and August, the sector is still at least 14,000 jobs short of where it was in February 2020.

For information on how British Columbia’s next government can help restaurants survive and recover from the impacts of COVID-19: Visit info.restaurantscanada.org/british-columbia-election-2020 to learn more and get engaged.

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, British Columbia’s foodservice sector was a $15 billion industry, directly employing nearly 193,000 people, providing the province’s number one source of first jobs and serving 3.4 million customers every day. British Columbia’s foodservice industry has since lost at least 100,000 jobs and is on track to lose as much as $7.5 billion in annual sales compared to 2019 due to the impacts of COVID-19.

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For more information, contact:

Mark von Schellwitz
Vice President, Western Canada
Restaurants Canada
C: 604-809-5719
mark@restaurantscanada.org

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

Marlee Wasser

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