Removing liquor server wage will hurt restaurant jobs in Alberta

EDMONTON, June 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Alberta's decision to remove the liquor server wage in 2016 will hurt restaurants, their employees and their customers, by forcing job cuts, reduced service levels and higher menu prices.

"The liquor server wage is important because it recognizes the significant tipped income these employees make," says Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada's VP Western Canada. "It also allows restaurateurs to pay more to staff who don't earn tips."

Alberta's restaurant industry is the top source of first-time jobs for young people and fourth-largest private sector job creator.

"We want to be part of the government's promise to create jobs in a diversified 21st century economy," says von Schellwitz. "But the measures announced today are going to make it much tougher for business owners to maintain current staffing levels, let alone create new jobs."

"Higher labour costs will force employers to cut server hours and the time they have to earn more tips," says von Schellwitz. "This is why servers at licensed restaurants have signed our petition to keep this wage intact. For an industry that's already struggling with intense cost pressures, razor-thin profit margins and a tough economy, this couldn't come at a worse time."

However, Restaurants Canada is encouraged that the Premier and Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour listened to some of the concerns of more than 1,400 small businesses and restaurant staff who signed the association's www.protectfirstjobs.ca petition. The government adopted Restaurants Canada's recommendation to announce minimum wage increases annually based on the current economic climate.

"We will keep working with the government for a minimum wage that meets the unique needs of restaurants and grows job opportunities," says von Schellwitz

Infographics:
Alberta's Restaurant Industry: Part of every community
The Liquor Server Wage: Why it works

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada's restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: Media Contact: Mark von Schellwitz, Vice President, Western Canada, 780-454-3366, cell 604-809-5719 or mark@restaurantscanada.org, available in Edmonton for interviews; Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist at 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4254, or email media@restaurantscanada.org.

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