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Wholesale purchase pricing for liquor on members’ wish list says Restaurants Canada report card


November 3, 2015
By Canadian Pizza

Toronto – Restaurant and bar owners in eight out of 10 provinces pay the same price as or higher than retail customers do for a bottle of wine, said a recent report card from Restaurants Canada based on a survey of its members.

The report card, entitled “Raise the Bar,” grades each province on its liquor policies and regulations as they relate to the hospitality industry.

Alberta is top of the class with a B+, offering the broadest selection of beer, wine and spirits at the best average price relative to other Canadian provinces, Restaurants Canada said in a news release.

Newfoundland and Labrador trails the country with a dismal “F” grade, due to limited product selection, some of the highest prices in Canada, and an inspection system that requires liquor inspectors to wear flak jackets when they enter a bar or restaurant.

This year’s report card follows a survey of Canada’s restaurant and bar owners who are frustrated with provincial regulations that control the cost and distribution of the alcoholic beverages they provide to customers.

“From coast to coast, Canada’s lawmakers are imposing out-of-date regulations that prevent our industry from passing on savings and convenience to customers, and providing the best possible guest experience,” said Donna Dooher, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, in the release. “It’s a part of the greater supply management issue that keeps Canadian businesses from competing at their full potential.”

The report card evaluates provincial governments across the country and scores their support for the food and beverage service industry in categories that include pricing and selection; licensing and regulation; customer sales; and political and regulatory activity.  

Full provincial results are available here.

Results from both the membership survey by Restaurants Canada and the report focus primarily on unfair pricing for businesses serving alcohol to customers.

Close to all (97 per cent) of surveyed members of Restaurants Canada want to see wholesale purchase pricing for the products they sell in their restaurants and bars, and 72 per cent believe the cost of purchasing their product (often from liquor distribution monopolies) has a negative impact on their ability to do business. Less than a third (30 per cent) say they are receiving value from their local liquor or beer supplier.

“This report card is an important evaluation of the extent to which provincial governments support our industry,” Dooher said. “There’s a real opportunity here for governments to work with us to grow the hospitality industry across the country.”