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TORONTO, June 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Most foodservice businesses across the country continue to operate at a loss, even as the economy is slowly restarting, according to a new survey from Restaurants Canada.

After months of significantly reduced revenue, or none at all, and now facing months of operating at reduced capacity, many restaurants need continued support to survive the road to recovery.

Survey reveals most restaurants are still losing money

Among respondents whose operations are either open for takeout or delivery only, or already offering dine-in services under new restrictions:

  • Six out of 10 said they are operating at a loss.
  • 22 per cent of single-unit operators and 15 per cent of multi-unit operators said they are just breaking even.

Among restaurants that have reopened their doors for on-premise dining:

  • Fewer than half (31 per cent of single-unit operators and 43 per cent of multi-unit operators) said doing so has had a positive impact on their operations.
  • More than a third (47 per cent of single-unit operators and 39 per cent of multi-unit operators) said the impact on their operations has been negative.
  • The remainder reported no impact or said it’s still too soon to assess.

Restaurants will need continued support to survive the road to recovery

“When restaurants thrive, so do the communities they serve,” said Shanna Munro, Restaurants Canada President and CEO. “Our industry wants to contribute to rebuilding the economy and reviving neighbourhoods, but time is running out. Most restaurants have been operating at a loss and accumulating debt for three months already. If they don’t get the help they need to return to positive cash flow, many won’t be able to last much longer.”

Restaurants will need continued support in the following key areas to ensure they’ll be able to contribute to Canada’s recovery from COVID-19.

Assistance with labour costs

While the federal government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy has already been helping some restaurants keep staff on payroll, those that are now preparing to reopen are concerned they won’t be able to access this support when they need it most.

Facing a long road to recovery, most foodservice businesses are going to need continued assistance until they are generating enough revenue to staff their operations without support, not just until an arbitrary program end date.

Restaurants Canada recommends the following changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program:

  • Continue to keep the subsidy available for as long as needed. Instead of the 75 per cent wage subsidy suddenly dropping to zero, reduce support smoothly and gradually as a business gets closer to manageable levels of revenue variance.
  • The 30 per cent revenue decline threshold should be scaled to support restaurants in their recovery, instead of serving as a disincentive to improving sales at the risk of losing access to the subsidy while businesses are still operating at a loss.

These changes would build on the success of the federal government’s wage subsidy program and give restaurants and other small and medium-sized businesses greater capacity to bring millions of Canadians back to work.

Commercial tenant protections and rent relief

Half of restaurant owners across the country are still dealing with landlords who are not willing to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program or any other rent relief arrangement.

More than half of single-unit operators say they have not paid their rent in April, May and June; one in five of those who have not paid rent for those months did not have permission from their landlord to defer payments for all of those months.

Restaurants Canada recommends the following actions from government:

  • Ensure commercial tenants are protected until solutions are in place. The federal government should work with the provinces to ensure a moratorium on evictions in every jurisdiction to relieve pressure from commercial tenants currently not benefiting from the CECRA program.
  • Tenants should be able to apply for the CECRA program and an application from an eligible tenant should make a landlord’s participation compulsory.
  • Eligibility requirements should be expanded to be more inclusive of all foodservice business models.
  • Support through the CECRA program should be available on a sliding scale beyond June, recognizing the tenuous financial circumstances that many commercial tenants still face. Relief should continue until business revenues return to a determined percentage of pre-pandemic levels.

Help with cash flow and rising debt levels

Restaurants are only at the beginning of what’s going to be a long road to recovery.

  • Existing measures need to be expanded and new solutions are needed to ensure restaurants have enough working capital to reopen their doors and remain viable until they are profitable again.

Feeding Canada’s recovery

Working together with Restaurants Canada, all levels of government can help foodservice businesses continue playing an integral part of the social and economic fabric of communities across the country. Learn more at feedingtherecovery.ca.

 
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June 9, 2020

As Manitoba carefully reopens for business, Video Lotto wants to help you prepare to serve your customers safely once the VLT network is reopened.

To help maintain social distancing after the network is up, many VLTs will remain turned off through Video Lotto’s Central System. Placing plexiglass barriers between VLTs is not an approved method for social distancing. The reconfiguration of VLT gaming areas to achieve social distancing is being reviewed.

Following the reopening, it is important that VLTs are effectively cleaned after each player’s use with the prescribed 70% alcohol-based solution.
Do not use ammonia-based products as they could damage the VLT.

Please see the VLT FAQs, cleaning and social distancing information attached.

 
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EDMONTON, Alberta, June 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Restaurants Canada applauds the Government of Alberta for providing a lifeline to restaurants with a moratorium on evictions and a working capital grant.

“On behalf of the province’s more than 11,000 restaurants, I want to thank Premier Kenney and Minister Fir for stepping up and throwing a lifeline to these mostly small businesses,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. “Our members tell us they are very concerned about whether they’ll have enough cash flow to pay rent, vendors and other expenses over the next few months.”

“When restaurants thrive, so do the communities they serve,” he added. “We need to ensure that Alberta’s restaurants are able to remain viable so that they can bring Albertans back to work and contribute to the province’s recovery from COVID-19.”

Today Alberta and Saskatchewan both announced commitments to protect commercial tenants from evictions in cases where their landlords are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to. Earlier this week British Columbia made the same commitment.

Premier Kenney’s announcement went a step farther to respond to another key recommendation from Restaurants Canada, to provide foodservice establishments with a working capital grant of up to $5,000 to assist with their reopening costs.

 
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TORONTO, June 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The restaurant industry is slowly starting to reopen to the public, but it’s a whole new world out there. In order to help foodservice operators reopen their businesses safely, as well as manage and grow their business in the next normal, Restaurants Canada has launched the Rapid Recovery Series. Over three days, foodservice professionals can learn and gain insights from 10 free one-hour webinars that will address some of the major challenges and pressing issues facing the foodservice industry during COVID-19 recovery.

“There is no denying that the COVID-19 situation presents our industry, and country at large, with an incredible challenge. As we move into recovery, it is important to stay optimistic while also realistic about the future,” said Shanna Munro, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “Our industry is a resilient one, though it may be a while until the restaurant landscape looks the way it used to, in adversity there is always opportunity; to learn, to grow, and to change. We need to consider what the next normal will look like and how we can rebuild our businesses and adapt to new consumer needs and habits.”

In order to help prepare foodservice operators for reopening and recovery, the online series will tackle such topics as:

  • Profit Modelling Scenarios
  • Menu Engineering
  • Navigating Landlord and Tenant Agreements
  • Rebuilding Your Workforce
  • Winning Your Customers Back
  • Leveraging the Supply Chain for the Future

The Rapid Recovery Series will also feature an exclusive CEO Panel that will speak to the future of foodservice, provide leadership insights, and ideas for reinvention to help foodservice operators move forward in the next normal.

By curating content to align with the most vital concerns of foodservice operators, Restaurants Canada is empowering industry professionals with the expertise and knowledge needed to recover from the pandemic and rebuild their communities.

Everyone who registers for a Rapid Recovery Series Session will receive a copy of the Restaurants Canada Rapid Recovery Guide, which provides foodservice operators with a summary of best practices to aid with their planning around food safety, cleaning and sanitation, health and personal hygiene, and more.

In addition, all those who register will be automatically entered for a chance to win the Let’s Re-Launch Right package from The Fifteen Group worth $6,950 (CAD). The package will provide access to a Profitability Model "Re-Work", New Budget Development, Menu Re-Engineering, "Re-Opening Punch List" Review, Pre-Launch Training Plan and Recommendations, Sanitation Procedures Development and Recommendations with On-site Support During Relaunch.

Operators and suppliers in the foodservice industry are invited to join one or all 10 sessions designed to help the industry reopen, re-invent and rebuild their businesses. For more information, please visit www.restaurantscanada.org/rapidrecovery.

 

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