Labour concerns biggest issue for foodservice operators: Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada
February 06, 2017
By Restaurants Canada
Toronto – According to Restaurants Canada’s latest Restaurant Outlook Survey, labour costs had a negative impact on 72 per cent of foodservice operators in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Labour costs surpassed rising food costs as the number 1 issue affecting restaurateurs, said Chris Elliott, senior economist for Restaurants Canada in a statement on the association's website.

Due to a recent moderation in food prices, 59 per cent of respondents said food costs hurt their business in Q4 compared to 71 per cent in Q3.  

In Alberta – where the minimum wage is set to climb to $15/hour by 2018 – 87 per cent of operators said labour costs hurt their business. This share even beat out the 83 per cent that felt the recession impacted their business.

Eight provinces raised their minimum wage in 2016, with the average minimum wage climbing by 3.7 per cent –  which is 2.6 times the rate of overall inflation. Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador have already announced minimum wage increases for 2017.

While government-mandated wages are climbing, operators are also sounding the alarm over labour shortages. Nearly half of table-service restaurants reported a shortage of skilled labour in Q4 – the highest share since Q4 2014.

Read key findings from the Restaurant Outlook Survey.

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