These results follow years of lacklustre growth caused by the recession and introduction of the HST.
“The harmonized sales tax took a toll on restaurant sales, but that’s behind us now,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s Western Canadav vice-president, in a news release. “A healthier economy, a less tax-prohibitive business environment and pent-up consumer demand has put the province’s restaurant industry back on track as a top employer and economic driver.”
Since 2000, the province’s restaurants have created 21,000 jobs for British Columbians for a total of 170,000 jobs, said the release, making the restaurant industry the third-largest, private-sector job creator in B.C.
Despite this remarkable comeback, restaurants in B.C. continue to struggle with one of the lowest average pre-tax profit margins in the country.
“Our restaurants can only do so well, due to the above-average costs for rental and leasing, as well as labour,” said von Schellwitz. “Sales may be off the charts, but the cost of doing business in the province continues to be a challenge.