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The love for restaurants and bars grows to new heights

The love for restaurants and bars grows to new heights

Posted on: 9/29/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

It’s not surprising that The Owl loves to report on restaurant and bar receipts because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a nice meal out? But, The Owl isn’t the only Albertan who loves the province’s restaurants and bars. Alberta’s love affair with eating out appears to be unstoppable because once again, that love has resulted in another record.

New restaurant receipts data show that during July, Albertans spent $770 million at restaurants and bars across the province (seasonally adjusted). July’s total was more than $4 million higher than the previous record set in June and about $7 million higher than the record set in May 2016 (the month of Fort McMurray’s forest fires).

The main reason for the growth in sales receipts is most likely due to the price increases of restaurant meals. As The Owl reported earlier this week, prices have risen nearly 30 per cent over the last decade. Costs for labour, energy, insurance and other inputs have all risen steadily over the last few years and are a reason for increasing the menu prices.

Still, Alberta’s economy has turned a corner and consumers are spending their hard-earned money on food and drink. The fact that restaurant and bar receipts have reached a record high two months in a row signals that consumer sentiment in the province is improving.

There’s no denying that Alberta’s recovering economy is a driver of the recent increases in spending at restaurants. That said, while the recession may be behind us, the road to economic recovery is not a straight line. Wages are flat, and even the labour market is still experiencing a few hiccups. This may eventually weigh on Alberta’s restaurants and bars.

Alberta restaurant and bar sales, graph

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