Feed­ing the Re­cov­ery

Re­build­ing the Econ­omy

DINE and Destinations - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Shanna Munro

WWHILE THE COVID-19 PAN­DEMIC CON­TIN­UES to con­front the food­ser­vice in­dus­try with an un­pre­dictable and evolv­ing set of chal­lenges, one thing has re­mained con­stant: now, more than ever, Cana­di­ans are ap­pre­ci­at­ing how crit­i­cally im­por­tant restau­rants are to the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of their com­mu­ni­ties.

Beyond serv­ing de­li­cious food, restau­rants are a top source of jobs, con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to char­i­ta­ble causes and pro­vide much needed spa­ces for meet­ing new peo­ple, con­nect­ing with col­leagues, and get­ting to­gether with friends and fam­ily.

The food­ser­vice in­dus­try is a key pil­lar of the na­tional econ­omy, sup­port­ing Cana­dian farm­ers, food and bev­er­age producers and dis­trib­u­tors, truck­ing companies and driv­ers from coast to coast to coast. Cana­dian restau­rants sus­tain our coun­try’s trades­peo­ple and de­sign­ers, sup­pli­ers of fur­ni­ture, cook­ware and pro­fes­sional ser­vices, in ad­di­tion to di­rectly em­ploy­ing more than a mil­lion chefs, cooks, servers, dish­wash­ers, bussers, cashiers and hosts, man­agers and more.

At least this was the case be­fore COVID-19 re­sulted in more than 800,000 peo­ple from the food­ser­vice and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor out of work by April.

That’s nearly two-thirds of the res­tau­rant work­force that was lost and dou­ble the num­ber of jobs that Canada’s en­tire econ­omy lost, across all sec­tors, in the year fol­low­ing the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Not only was the res­tau­rant in­dus­try among the first and hard­est hit by the pan­demic, the sec­tor will also be among the slow­est to re­turn to prof­itabil­ity: Six of 10 food­ser­vice busi­nesses are still op­er­at­ing at a loss, even as ju­ris­dic­tions across the coun­try are mov­ing for­ward with re­open­ing plans.

Af­ter months of sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced rev­enue, or none at all, and now fac­ing months of op­er­at­ing at re­duced ca­pac­ity, this is only the be­gin­ning of what will be a long and dif­fi­cult road to re­cov­ery for Canada’s restau­rants.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pan­demic, restau­rants have demon­strated an ex­cep­tional level of re­spon­sive­ness and in­no­va­tion while con­tin­u­ing to en­sure the health and safety of their staff and ev­ery­one they serve.

BUT THE CRE­ATIV­ITY and re­siliency of the food­ser­vice in­dus­try won’t be enough to keep restau­rants from clos­ing down in the face of in­suf­fi­cient cash flow and in­sur­mount­able debt.

Res­tau­ra­teurs are ea­ger to help re­build the econ­omy and re­vive neigh­bour­hoods, but the win­dow of op­por­tu­nity is quickly clos­ing: The dev­as­ta­tion that this pan­demic has had on the food­ser­vice sec­tor is go­ing to take sub­stan­tial govern­ment ac­tion to re­verse.

To make sure that restau­rants have what they need to con­tinue play­ing an in­te­gral part of the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of our ev­ery­day lives, Restau­rants Canada has launched a cam­paign called Feed­ing the Re­cov­ery.

This cam­paign is invit­ing ev­ery­one across the in­dus­try to help raise greater aware­ness that restau­rants are key to Canada’s re­cov­ery from COVID-19.

While all lev­els of govern­ment have taken some im­por­tant steps to re­spond with emer­gency re­lief mea­sures since the pan­demic started, Restau­rants Canada is con­tin­u­ing to work to­ward en­sur­ing that restau­rants have the sup­port they need to sur­vive the road to re­cov­ery.

Visit feed­ingth­ere­cov­ery.ca to learn more.

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