Restaurants Canada calls for coordinated national support as industry continues to suffer

Restaurants Canada seeks to establish a national working group to support the foodservice sector’s revival in 2021

Toronto’s Gusto 501 is one of many Canadian restaurants whose dining rooms remain closed

Despite efforts to adhere to ever-evolving restrictions that persistently stifle foodservice sales and add to job losses, Canada’s hospitality industry faces a steep uphill climb heading into 2021. 

According to the latest survey from Restaurants Canada, 65 per cent of Canadian restaurants are currently operating at a loss, 48 per cent of single-unit foodservice operators expect to close permanently in the next six months, and 56 per cent of multi-unit operators expect to have to close at least one of their locations within the same time period. 

While some optimism existed following a summer season that saw the recovery of more than 400,000 jobs within the sector, according to Statistics Canada, widespread job losses in the last three months leaves the industry more than 260,000 jobs short of where it was prior to spring 2020. 

“Our members are seeking a new year’s resolution from government, not only to support their survival but our industry’s vital role in building back a stronger, more resilient Canada,” said Restaurants Canada president and CEO Todd Barclay. “Restaurants Canada is calling for a national working group to pave the way for the foodservice sector’s revival, building on the commitment in the federal government’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement to provide targeted, sector-specific support to restaurants and other hardest hit businesses.”

Recommended areas of focus for establishing a national working group to help support the foodservice sector’s revival include building nationwide mechanisms for timely consultation on COVID-19-related aid measures, creating joint communications materials and campaigns to promote restaurants and local food suppliers, and taking coordinated action to develop and implement solutions to ensure future success. 

Restaurants Canada is currently asking Canadians to help raise the voice of the foodservice industry by co-signing a pre-written letter to Parliament asking to support its new recommendations.