Setting the record straight: Family Day will cost Ontario restaurants $37 million a year

    TORONTO, Oct. 12 /CNW/ - Family Day won't benefit the families that own
and operate Ontario's 22,000 restaurants. The new statutory holiday will cost
these small businesses an additional $37 million a year in higher payroll
    Contrary to speculation in the media that the new holiday will generate
more business for restaurants, the reality is that sales would have to more
than double on Feb. 18 to make up for the 200% increase in wages that day.
    Full-time and part-time employees must be paid their regular pay plus
150% if they work on Feb. 18, which means a $10/hour wage jumps to $25/hour
that day. Employees who don't work on Feb. 18 will receive their regular pay.
    "Many restaurants will be better off closing their doors on Feb. 18, but
whether they open or close, it is a money-losing proposition," says Elaine
Flis, Vice President, Ontario with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA).
    The average pre-tax profit margin in the restaurant industry is just 2.9%
of revenue, leaving little room to absorb higher costs.
    "Statutory holidays are extremely costly for restaurants even when they
fall in the busy summer period," says Flis. "It will be even worse in
February, when many Ontarians are still paying off Christmas bills and happier
to stay home than to brave winter conditions for a meal out."
    Restaurant operators are already faced with a mandatory wage increase of
28% over the next three years, following a 17% increase over the last three
years. Many are struggling with a dramatic drop in U.S. tourists and a
sluggish Ontario economy. So far in 2007, real sales in the restaurant
industry have fallen 0.5% compared to 2006.
    "We hope the Ontario government will take a closer look at the real
impact of Family Day and work with us to mitigate the impact on
entrepreneurial families," says Flis.

For further information:

For further information: Elaine Flis, CRFA Vice President, Ontario,
1-800-387-5649, ext. 4214 or (416) 738-9546; Jill Holroyd, CRFA Vice
President, Research and Communications, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4217 or (416)

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