TORONTO, November 5, 2014 – Signs of an improving economy are cautiously driving optimism in the restaurant industry, as 84 per cent of operators expect sales to grow steadily or accelerate over the next six months. Restaurants Canada’s latest Restaurant Outlook Survey shows these expectations follow a strong third-quarter performance, where nearly 40 per cent reported higher sales over the previous year.

“The economic uptick and fast-approaching busy holiday season has put restaurateurs in better spirits,” says Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “This optimism bodes well for employment, as 80 per cent of operators plan to maintain or grow their staff levels.”

While operators may want to hire more people, they could be hard-pressed to find suitable employees.

“For the first time since our survey’s inception in 2011, the shortage of skilled labour is one of the top three concerns for operators,” says Whyte. “Finding lower-skilled labour is also a major challenge for restaurateurs.”

The labour shortage is most pressing in Western Canada, where nearly two-thirds of restaurateurs are struggling to find workers.

Read the topline findings of the Restaurant Outlook Survey.

Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.

Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy (including commercial and non-commercial foodservice), and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

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