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Restaurateurs urging feds for assistance as patio season winds down

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Restaurateurs urging feds for assistance as patio season winds down

Now that the weather is starting to turn, and patio season is beginning to wind down, coupled with the fact cases are once again increasing, restaurant owners are concerned about what this will mean for their businesses.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Speech from the Throne coming up, Restaurants Canada is urging the federal government to make the foodservice industry a priority.

“The recovery of the foodservice industry will not be linear. Despite best efforts to innovate and adapt to the current environment, our sector will experience ups and downs as patios close, consumer behaviour adjusts and areas such as downtowns no longer host office workers and tourists in the same volumes they once did,” Todd Barclay, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, said in a news release.

According to a report from Restaurants Canada, 20 per cent of all jobs lost during the pandemic were in the foodservice industry.

Additionally, despite the fact Stage 3 has allowed more restaurants to reopen and/or increase capacity, there are still 260,000 fewer foodservice jobs than there were in February—the biggest gap of any industry in the country.

Further, Restaurants Canada is warning of a continued drop in sales—2020 could see a drop in sales by nearly half, which would represent a loss of $44.8 billion.

Moreover, during the pandemic, approximately 10 per cent of all foodservice businesses in the country have had to close permanently, and many of those that have survived are currently operating at a loss—many restaurateurs believe it could take up to a year for their businesses to return to profitability.

“Largely thanks to measures introduced since the start of the pandemic, the vast majority of restaurants have been able to continue contributing to their communities during these extraordinarily challenging times,” David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec, said in the same release.

“As the federal government resets its agenda and seeks to demonstrate a strong commitment to economic recovery, Restaurants Canada looks forward to renewed support for the vitally important foodservice sector to prevent further closures and job losses,” he continued.

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