Government policies taking toll on Alberta restaurants

Mario ToneguzziMore than a third of Alberta’s restaurants are considering closing their doors, according to a Restaurants Canada survey.

In a news release issued on Monday, the organization said the survey  reveals the need for government policy changes to help foodservice operators recover from recent changes to provincial labour legislation.

“When restaurants struggle, so do the communities they serve,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada, in a statement.

“With a provincial election coming up on April 16, we look forward to hearing how each of Alberta’s political parties plan to help foodservice businesses survive and thrive.”

The survey found:

  • 35 per cent of respondents said they have considered closing up shop following recent changes to provincial labour legislation;
  • 94 per cent have increased menu prices as a result of minimum wages going to $15 per hour in October 2018;
  • 88 per cent have decreased staff hours;
  • 61 per cent have hired fewer youth for entry-level positions;
  • 46 per cent have laid off staff; and
  • 26 per cent have explored self-service solutions like touch pads and kiosks.

Recently, Restaurants Canada released 16 policy recommendations to Alberta’s four major political parties hoping they will be incorporated into all their platforms.

A complete list of the recommendations can be found at, along with information on key issues facing Alberta’s foodservice industry.

Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.

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