Toronto, Oct. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the restaurant industry, and as patio season draws to a close, operators expect more job losses and a significant increase in closures ahead. Throughout the pandemic, restaurant operators have quickly and effectively adapted to changing public health guidance in order to bring back staff to serve their communities safely, and they can be trusted to continue to do so as we head into the colder months.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 800,000 foodservice workers were laid off or had their hours cut down to zero. While the vast majority of industries have been able to bring employees back to work and are hovering at just 1 to 10 per cent below pre-COVID-19 employment levels of February 2020, there continues to be a significant gap in the restaurant industry. Due to ongoing restrictions across the country, the restaurant industry is the hardest hit with employment 21 per cent below February 2020 levels. A recent Restaurant Canada survey found that roughly half of table-service restaurants expect to reduce their number of full and part-time employees over the next three to four months.

“The government has pledged to create 1 million jobs, with a focus on racialized Canadians, young people, and women who have been hit the hardest through the pandemic,” said Todd Barclay, President and CEO, Restaurants Canada. “Restaurants can play a significant role in feeding the recovery as 260,000 of the jobs still lost due to the pandemic are in our industry alone. Fifty-eight per cent of our industry being women and 31 per cent visible minorities, we can help support the government's growth plans, but we need government help to get our industry moving.”

As restrictions have continued to evolve, restaurants have continued to invest time and money into safety equipment and procedures to ensure safe and enjoyable dining experiences for consumers. Eighty seven per cent of Canadians agree that restaurants are doing a good job of keeping customers safe. The health and safety of everyone we serve is always mission critical to our industry, this was just as true now as it was before the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our industry has lost significant revenues, incurred additional costs and is being targeted for closures, without the data being made public to support this claim,” said Barclay. “As cases may arise in certain areas, we have been asking authorities to target any restrictions and enforcement to the higher risk areas and not just punish our entire industry”.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to keep our customers and staff safe,” said Cindy Simpson, Executive Vice President, Imago Restaurants Inc. “While the irresponsibility of a few rogue operators has resulted in some closures, this doesn't represent the industry as a whole and we can't let these incidents bring down our industry”.

With tighter restrictions being proposed, additional closures will lead to not only increased job losses, but larger impact on the Canadian economy. Ninety two per cent of Canadians agree that restaurants are an important part of their community; as we support the restaurants that offer consumer’s spots to celebrate, spend time with loved ones, and make memories, we support communities, allowing them to thrive.


ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, Sept. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Restaurants Canada welcomes the commitments unveiled in today’s budget announcement to help Newfoundland and Labrador pull through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, while calling for more targeted assistance for the province’s struggling foodservice sector.

“Not only was Newfoundland’s restaurant industry among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19, the sector will also be among the slowest to recover,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada. “The newly announced Small Business Assistance Program is desperately needed and is a great first step. Restaurants Canada looks forward to working with the new Premier and his team to build on the commitments unveiled today, to provide more targeted assistance for the province’s foodservice businesses going forward.”

Newfoundland's hospitality sector remains hardest hit

According to a recent Restaurants Canada survey:

  • The majority of Newfoundland’s restaurants are still not profitable: 44% of survey respondents said they are operating at a loss and 25% 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:
    • 4% said 6 months or less.
    • 24% said 7 months to a year.
    • 43% said between a year and 18 months.
    • 29% said more than 18 months.

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2020 /CNW/ - Tim Hortons restaurant owners and millions of generous Canadians across the country combined broke a new Smile Cookie record by raising $10.56 million for local charities across the country. Even after raising an amazing $9.8 million in 2019, Tim Hortons restaurant owners wanted to reach new heights with Smile Cookie this year. And their efforts paid off.

"We were absolutely blown away by the generosity of Canadians for our annual Smile Cookie campaign," says Tim Hortons Chief Marketing Officer Hope Bagozzi.

"We were able to surpass the amount of donations raised in 2019 by roughly $760,000, which really is astounding."

One restaurant in Dunnville, Ont., set out to sell 50,000 cookies — an ambitious goal for Dunnville's population of about 6,000 people. Restaurant owner Ryan DiTommaso and his team members sold an incredible 60,000-plus Smile Cookies with the support of loyal guests within Dunnville's big-hearted community. That's about 10 cookies for every resident in Dunnville! It was the third year in a row that the Dunnville restaurant sold the most Smile Cookies in the entire country. DiTommaso is donating their Smile Cookie funds to the Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare Foundation.

Another community showing their local pride was the town of Rosetown, Sask. Restaurant owner Danielle Robson and her team members sold over 21,000 cookies. With a population of about 2,300, that's over nine cookies for each person in town! The restaurant is donating their Smile Cookie funds to the Gasper Family Foundation.

Other top-selling restaurants include:

  • Binbrook, Ont., restaurant owners Steve, Lorraine and Kara Kennish sold over 35,000 Smile Cookies and will be donating to Empowerment Squared
  • Peace River, Alta., restaurant owners Gordon and Barbara Drummond sold over 23,000 Smile Cookies and will be donating to Always Find a Reason to Smile
  • Lac-Megantic, Que,. restaurant owners Denis Bourque and Chantal Francis sold over 19,000 cookies and will be donating to Maison Cinquième Saison

Tim Hortons restaurant owners across Canada will be presenting their local charity partners with Smile Cookie cheques throughout the next month.


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