New survey shows HST and BAC rules hit restaurants hard

VANCOUVER, May 4 /CNW/ - Nearly nine in ten restaurateurs have seen a drop in sales since the introduction of the HST and new drinking-and-driving penalties in British Columbia, according to a province-wide survey by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

Overall restaurant sales dropped by an average of 15% in the seven months following the July 2010 introduction of the HST, according to survey respondents. Liquor sales in particular fell by 21% in the four months following the introduction of new blood alcohol content (BAC) regulations in late Sept. 2010.

In the same survey, 68% of BC restaurateurs said they will vote against HST as it is currently structured in the upcoming HST referendum.

"For several months these two public policies have stalled any post-recession recovery in British Columbia's restaurant industry - a recovery that has already taken hold in other provinces," says Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA Vice President, Western Canada. "The restaurant industry is the fourth-largest private-sector employer in B.C. and contributes to communities all across the province. We urge the government to stop giving British Columbians more reasons to stay home, and work with us to create a better business climate for our members and their customers."

The CRFA survey finds that:

  • Nearly nine in ten (87%) of respondents reported a drop in sales since HST took effect;
  • The average decrease in sales was 15% between July 2010 and Jan. 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier;
  • 68% of respondents say they will vote against HST as it is currently structured;
  • 88% of licensed restaurant and bar operators said the new .05 drinking and driving penalties resulted in a drop in liquor sales;
  • Licensees reported an average 21% loss in liquor sales between Oct. 2010 and Jan. 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier;
  • As a result of the declining sales caused by HST and the new drinking and driving penalties, 72% of respondents said they have cut back on staff hours, 54% are offering more deals and promotions to keep customers, 31% are doing more advertising and marketing, and 20% have reduced their hours of operation.

The CRFA online survey of restaurant owners and operators was conducted between March 23 and March 31, 2011. The findings represent 1,909 B.C. businesses.
 

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA Vice President Western Canada, 604-685-9655, 604-809-5719 (cell) or mark@crfa.caPrasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 416-649-4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca

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Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

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