Media Advisory - Restaurant industry spokesperson available to comment on Ontario budget

    TORONTO, March 21 /CNW/ - Stephanie Jones of the Canadian Restaurant and
    Foodservices Association (CRFA) will be at Queen's Park and available for
    comment after the budget is delivered on March 22.

                          Minimum Wage Backgrounder

    Restaurants in Ontario are small businesses operating on razor-thin
    margins. The average foodservice establishment generates sales of $14,590
    per week.

      -  Payroll costs eat up 31% of sales
      -  Food costs eat up 37%
      -  Other operating costs eat up 29%

         Leaving a pre-tax profit of just 2.8% or $408 per week
         -  the lowest foodservice profit margin in Canada.


    Raising the minimum wage does not improve outcomes for low-income
    families, and will reduce job opportunities for young people.

    31% of hourly employees in the restaurant industry earn minimum wage. The
    vast majority of these employees are not supporting a family, but are
    secondary income earners or students:

      -  77% are under the age of 25
      -  76% work part-time
      -  61% are students
      -  28% earn gratuities that often exceed their hourly wage

    Government needs to reduce the tax burden on low-income families to
    improve outcomes for those living in poverty in Ontario, not shift the
    burden to small business.


    What is the impact of a dramatic minimum wage hike?

      -  A minimum wage hike triggers an increase in payroll taxes, which
         cost restaurant operators another 9% on top of the minimum wage
      -  In a highly competitive industry, the cost cannot be passed along to
         price-sensitive consumers.
      -  Restaurant owners have little choice but to reduce hours or cut jobs
         to absorb the increase.


    Sources: All calculations are based on Statistics Canada data. Payroll
    tax data based on Ontario government data.

For further information:

For further information: Stephanie Jones, CRFA Vice President, Ontario,
(416) 738-9546 (cell) or (416) 649-4243 (office); or Jill Holroyd, CRFA
Communications, (416) 649-4217

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