Restaurants Canada calls on B.C.’s next government to get cooking

Organization says that most of the province's restaurants are hurting.

Pepino’s Spaghetti House on Vancouver’s east side is back in service

Most of the province’s restaurants are hurting, industry group says

What’s on the menu? A lot for B.C.’s political parties to chew on, it seems.

Restaurants Canada, a nonprofit association representing foodservice workers across the country, has fittingly released a menu of the items it wants to see the next B.C. government address after the October 24 provincial election. 

According to a Restaurants Canada survey conducted September 15 to 24, the majority of B.C.’s restaurants are still not profitable after the devastation the industry suffered thanks to COVID-19. The survey reported that 45 percent of respondents were operating at a loss and 20 percent were just breaking even. More than half of the responding restaurants are expected to take at least a year to return to profitability.

“Restaurants are critically important to creating jobs, economic growth and vibrant neighbourhoods,” Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president, Western Canada, said in a statement. “Restaurants Canada looks forward to working closely with British Columbia’s next government to ensure foodservice businesses have what they need to continue contributing to the province’s recovery.”

The list of recommendations includes grants, tenant protections and the continuation of alcohol sales with takeout and delivery orders, among other things.

By April, COVID-19 had resulted in more than 112,000 B.C. foodservice workers losing their jobs or having their hours cut down to zero, according to Restaurants Canada. Things have improved since then, but the organization believes its sector is still about 14,000 jobs short of where it was before the pandemic.