VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Restaurants Canada is urging that all parties seeking to form British Columbia’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 Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. “Restaurants Canada looks forward to working closely with British Columbia’s next government to ensure foodservice businesses have what they need to continue contributing to the province’s recovery.”

British Columbia’s restaurants expect a year or more to recover

Not only was British Columbia’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 Sept. 15 and Sept. 24:

  • The majority of British Columbia’s restaurants are still not profitable: 45% of survey respondents said they are operating at a loss and 20% 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:
    • 6% said 6 months or less.
    • 20% said 7 months to a year.
    • 46% said between a year and 18 months.
    • 29% said more than 18 months.

A menu for recovery

Restaurants Canada has shared recommendations to support the recovery of British Columbia’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 British Columbia’s economy,” said von Schellwitz.

Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia’s foodservice sector represented 5 per cent of the province’s GDP and was the province’s third-largest private sector employer. By April, COVID-19 had resulted in more than 112,000 foodservice workers losing their jobs or having their hours cut down to zero. While foodservice employment in British Columbia increased by more than 97,000 jobs between May and August, the sector is still at least 14,000 jobs short of where it was in February 2020.