FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, Aug. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Restaurants Canada is urging that all parties seeking to form New Brunswick’s next government adopt recommendations to help the province’s restaurants pull through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Restaurants are critically important to creating jobs, economic growth and vibrant neighbourhoods,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada. “Restaurants Canada looks forward to working closely with New Brunswick’s next government to ensure foodservice businesses have what they need to continue contributing to the province’s recovery.”

New Brunswick’s restaurants expect a year or more to recover

Not only was New Brunswick’s foodservice industry among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19, the sector will also be among the slowest to recover.

According to a Restaurants Canada survey conducted between June 25 and July 3:

  • The majority of New Brunswick’s restaurants are still not profitable. 47% of survey respondents said they are operating at a loss and 24% said they are just breaking even.
  • More than half of restaurants still operating at a loss expect to take at least a year to return to profitability.
    • 10% said 6 months or less.
    • 33% said 7 months to a year.
    • 43% said between a year and 18 months.
    • 14% said more than 18 months.

A menu for recovery

Restaurants Canada has shared recommendations to support the recovery of New Brunswick’s foodservice sector with all major parties seeking to form the next provincial government.

“With colder months approaching, restaurants will need continued assistance to keep fulfilling their vital role within New Brunswick’s economy,” said Erjavec.

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Brunswick’s foodservice sector represented 4 per cent of the province’s GDP and was the province’s fourth-largest private sector employer. By April, COVID-19 had resulted in somewhere between 8,100 to 13,700 foodservice workers losing their jobs or having their hours cut down to zero. While foodservice employment in New Brunswick increased by 6,500 jobs between March and July, the province’s hospitality sector is still 1,600 jobs short of where it was in February 2020.