TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2020 — Since March 2020, 10,000 restaurants have already closed across Canada, and almost 50 per cent expect to permanently close their establishment if conditions don’t improve. Restaurants Canada, the not-for-profit foodservice association representing over 30,000 members across Canada today launched their “Picture life without restaurants” Campaign calling on consumers across Canada to take action and support their local restaurant through dine-in (where available), takeout, delivery or by purchasing gift cards.
“The vast majority of Canadian consumers are concerned that restaurants in their community may not survive and feel that restaurants are an important part of their community,” said Todd Barclay, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “The holiday season is usually one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants. This year, with so many under lockdown, it will be devastating. We are asking consumers to take a stand and show their support for their local restaurants during this crucial time of the year.”
No other industry has been hit as hard as the restaurant industry during this pandemic. At the height of the crisis, an estimated 800,000 jobs were lost or had hours reduced to zero. Since then the industry has struggled to recover due to revolving restrictions across Canada, with 21% of the restaurant workforce not yet recovered.
While Restaurants Canada continues to work with governments for needed support programs, the objective of the multi-channel “Picture life without restaurants” Campaign is to inform consumers that without their support, restaurants will continue to close. This will ultimately leave gaping holes in the economy and the lives of Canadians. Many communities across Canada are centered around local restaurants, cafes, and bakeries.
“It really does take a village and together we can support the foodservice and hospitality industry – from restaurants and bars to farmers, to food and beverage brands – for all those times they supported us,” continues Barclay.
A pivotal piece of this Campaign is the television-ready public service announcement (PSA) set to be released in time for the holiday season. The PSA continues to emphasize the narrative that restaurants are crucial to our neighbourhoods and, by linking special moments that consumers have had in restaurants, will reinforce that a life without restaurants is an empty one.
These pieces come together in the recently launched website SupportRestaurants.ca where consumers can pledge their support in the form of actions they will take to support their local restaurant.
Restaurants across Canada can also download the “Restaurants Are Family” toolkit which provides a diverse and helpful set of options for every operator and the entire supply chain of the foodservice industry to participate in this action.
“The ability to mobilize our voice in local communities provides us with a great advantage and opportunity to get our collective message out,” says Barclay. “I’m asking for all consumers, operators, and staff to come together and help spread the word — through a unified voice we can keep restaurants in the picture and encourage consumers to help restaurants in their greatest time of need.”
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, Canada’s foodservice sector was a $93 billion industry, directly employing 1.2 million people, providing Canada’s number one source of first jobs and serving 22 million customers across the country every day. The industry has since lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and could lose as much as $31 billion in sales in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
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