Restaurant owners say the HST will significantly hurt their business

    VANCOUVER, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - The vast majority of restaurant owners -- 91%
-- say a harmonized sales tax in British Columbia will have a negative impact
on their business, according to a survey of the Canadian Restaurant and
Foodservices Association's 4,000 B.C. members.
    Eighty-five per cent of respondents said the HST will have a
"significantly negative" impact and 6% said it would have a "slightly
negative" impact. Only 9% responded that it will have no impact or a positive
impact on business.
    "The survey results echo what we've been hearing loud and clear in
emails, phone calls and faxes from our members over the past two weeks," says
Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA Vice President Western Canada. "Adding a 7% PST onto
the 5% GST will more than double the sales tax on restaurant meals. This will
result in a dramatic decrease in consumer spending on eating out."
    When asked specifically how the HST will impact their business, 90% of
respondents said their customers will cut back on spending, and 71% said they
will have to cut back on staff or staff hours.
    "Restaurants are at the heart of every community in British Columbia, and
an important employer for people of all ages and walks of life," says Garth
Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. "The HST announcement has created a great deal
of uncertainty for our members. It is clear they are deeply concerned about
the damage the HST will do to their business. We will be looking to the B.C.
government and the federal government to fix this major tax shift onto the
restaurant sector."
    The restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the largest employers
in B.C., with 173,000 direct employees, including 80,000 young people under
the age of 25.

    CRFA is one of Canada's largest business associations, with 33,000
members representing independent and chain restaurants, bars, caterers,
institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada's $60-billion foodservice
industry employs more than one million people in communities across the

    CRFA Member Survey: British Columbia HST

    Q 1: How will a 12% harmonized sales tax (HST) on restaurant meals in
    British Columbia hurt your business? (select one answer only)

    Significantly negative impact  85%
    Slightly negative impact        6%
    No impact                       1%
    Slightly positive impact        1%
    Significantly positive impact   8%

    Q 2: If there is a negative impact on your business, what will it be?
    (select as many as apply)

    Customers will decrease their spending at my restaurant   90%
    I will cut back on staff/staff hours                      71%
    I will not expand my business/open new restaurants        36%
    I will reduce my hours of operation                       21%
    I will shut down my business                               6%
    Other                                                      7%

    Q3: What type of foodservice establishment do you operate? (select one
    answer only)

    Quick-service restaurant     47%
    Table-service restaurant     38%
    Contract caterer              4%
    Bar, tavern, pub, nightclub   6%
    Other                         4%

    Q4: Does your establishment have a liquor license? (select one answer
    Yes   47%
    No    53%

    The CRFA Member Survey was conducted through an online and fax survey
between July 29 and Aug. 4, 2009. A total of 365 members completed the survey,
and results are considered accurate within +/- 5 %, 19 times out of 20. Totals
may not add to 100 due to rounding.

    NOTE TO EDITORS:  Survey charts and graphs available at

For further information:

For further information: Mark von Schellwitz, CRFA Vice President
Western Canada, (604) 685-9655 or; Jeni Armstrong, CRFA
Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254 or

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