These are desperate times for foodservice operators across the country. Based on preliminary data from Restaurants Canada’s Restaurant Outlook Survey, 93% of restaurant operators surveyed said COVID-19 was having a negative impact on their business. The survey was conducted the week of March 16th and based on results from more than 500 respondents, representing roughly 10,000 individual establishments.
Looking back at the first two weeks in March, a staggering 80% of foodservice operators surveyed reported lower same-store sales compared to the same period in March 2019.
Of those that reported lower sales, the majority saw steep declines in sales.
For many operators at that time, they had chosen to shut down temporarily or close down the dine-in portion of their restaurant temporarily to focus on take-out and delivery.
While the survey was in the field, provincial governments across the country implemented various social distancing measures that included closing down the dine-in portion of their business or reducing the seating capacity of the restaurant. As a result, nearly all those surveyed are worried about their sales over the next three months, with 92% saying they are “very worried”.
Apart from the numbers, there are the comments from operators. For many operators, they have closed their doors, laid off staff and are unsure whether they can reopen again. They are gravely worried about their staff, paying their bills and losing everything they worked so hard for.
“We are considering closing, selling off what remaining stock we have through prepared meals etc. and then waiting to see where we go from here. I fear the worst, for many of us.”
”All restaurants have been forced to close, but landlords still expect rent, banks still expect loan payments and interest payments. What are we to do?”
“We plan to use our restaurant as a way to help elderly customers in our community by delivering soups, etc. free of charge. (Employing one staff to make soup).”
You can find the latest news and industry resources on COVID-19 here.