Restaurateurs are eager to help rebuild the economy and revive neighbourhoods
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to confront the foodservice industry with an unpredictable and evolving set of challenges, one thing has remained constant: now, more than ever, Canadians are appreciating how critically important restaurants are to the social and economic fabric of their communities.
Beyond serving delicious food, restaurants are a top source of jobs, contribute significantly to charitable causes and provide much needed spaces for meeting new people, connecting with colleagues, and getting together with friends and family.
The foodservice industry is a key pillar of the national economy, supporting Canadian farmers, food and beverage producers and distributors, trucking companies and drivers from coast to coast to coast. Canadian restaurants sustain our country’s tradespeople and designers, suppliers of furniture, cookware and professional services, in addition to directly employing more than a million chefs, cooks, servers, dishwashers, bussers, cashiers and hosts, managers and more.
At least this was the case before COVID-19 resulted in more than 800,000 people from the foodservice and hospitality sector out of work by April 2020.
That’s nearly two-thirds of the restaurant workforce that was lost and double the number of jobs that Canada’s entire economy lost, across all sectors, in the year following the 2008 financial crisis.
Not only was the restaurant industry among the first and hardest hit by the pandemic, the sector will also be among the slowest to return to profitability: Six of 10 foodservice businesses are still operating at a loss, even as jurisdictions across the country are moving forward with reopening plans.
After months of significantly reduced revenue, or none at all, and now facing months of operating at reduced capacity, this is only the beginning of what will be a long and difficult road to recovery for Canada’s restaurants.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have demonstrated an exceptional level of responsiveness and innovation while continuing to ensure the health and safety of their staff and everyone they serve.
But the creativity and resiliency of the foodservice industry won’t be enough to keep restaurants from closing down in the face of insufficient cash flow and insurmountable debt.
Restaurateurs are eager to help rebuild the economy and revive neighbourhoods, but the window of opportunity is quickly closing: The devastation that this pandemic has had on the foodservice sector is going to take substantial government action to reverse.
To make sure that restaurants have what they need to continue playing an integral part of the social and economic fabric of our everyday lives, Restaurants Canada has launched a campaign called Feeding the Recovery.
This campaign is inviting everyone across the industry to help raise greater awareness that restaurants are key to Canada’s recovery from COVID-19.
While all levels of government have taken some important steps to respond with emergency relief measures since the pandemic started, Restaurants Canada is continuing to work toward ensuring that restaurants have the support they need to survive the road to recovery.
Visit feedingtherecovery.ca to learn more.