Canadian restaurateurs cautiously optimistic amidst global economic uncertainty

TORONTO, July 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Guarded optimism prevails as 40% of restaurant operators expect sales to gather speed in the next six months - up slightly from 38% in the first quarter and a subdued 22% in Q4 of 2011. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association's (CRFA's) Restaurant Outlook Survey for Q2 of 2012 also finds many operators are planning to add to their staff roster to keep up with this growth.

Although operators were more upbeat in Q2, optimism steadily dropped from April to June - reflecting seasonal trends as well as concerns with the global economy. Additionally, labour costs and a labour shortage continue to hurt restaurateurs. However, a moderation in food costs and the waning impact of rising gas prices have brought some relief to the industry.

"Optimism is tempered in the industry, and with good reason," says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. "In addition to dealing with ongoing issues like rising food, liquor and labour costs, restaurants now have to contend with global economic uncertainty."

"The good news is that the majority of restaurants are planning to hold menu prices steady," continues Whyte. "And true to form, restaurateurs will be hiring more people - 87% expect to maintain or increase employment levels, creating a ripple effect of social and economic benefits across the country."

Survey highlights
The results from Q2 of 2012 reveal a mixture of factors feeding into the industry's guarded optimism:

  • 35% of restaurateurs posted higher same-store sales growth in Q2 compared to last year;
  • 64% reported higher food costs in Q2, down from 72% in Q2 of 2011;
  • 43% were impacted by rising gas prices in April, but by June this share fell to 27%;
  • 58% struggled with rising labour costs, with table-service restaurateurs noting a significant shortage in skilled and unskilled labour; and
  • 28% experienced weak consumer spending, up from 20% in Q2 of 2011.

About the survey
CRFA's Restaurant Outlooks Survey tracks business conditions for nearly 8,500 foodservice establishments across Canada.  For more results, click here.

CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's restaurant industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Mary Gazze, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4226 or

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Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

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