Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Toronto restaurateurs frustrated with City Hall


October 7, 2010
By Canadian Pizza

October 7, 2010, Toronto – Frustration around red tape, delays and duplication at City Hall is running high among Toronto’s restaurant community as election day approaches.

According to a new survey by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), nine out of 10 restaurant owners say reducing red tape and bureaucracy is important or very important to their business, making it the number one election issue for the city’s restaurant community.

Just two in 10 respondents believe City Hall understands the contribution of the $5.8-billion restaurant industry to the city’s economy, while seven in 10 say City Hall has lost touch with the challenges facing their businesses.

“We heard from restaurant owners who have invested their life savings into opening a new business n Toronto, only to be abandoned by City Hall. Our local government is working against restaurant owners, instead of creating conditions for success,” says CRFA president and CEO Garth Whyte. “This is a wake up call. If you want a vibrant city, you need a vibrant restaurant sector.”

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The survey also shows that 23 per cent of respondents scaled back on expansion plans and 30 per cent scaled back on renovations, due to a combination of the economy and bureaucratic red tape. This translates into the loss of thousands of potential jobs in Toronto.

Survey respondents expressed frustration on several fronts, including the time-consuming process to obtain operating licences and building permits, lengthy delays in processing fire, building and health inspections required for liquor licence applications, and the new zoning bylaw that bans new rooftop and backyard patios.

“Our message to candidates in this municipal election is to treat the restaurant industry as a partner in Toronto’s success,” says Whyte.

Toronto’s 8,100 restaurants, caterers and bars generate $5.8 billion in annual revenue, contribute $40 million in property taxes, and employ nearly 85,000 people.