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Restaurant sales in Alberta continued to struggle in 2021

Restaurant and bar revenue in Alberta in 2021 was $1.4 billion (-14.0%) lower relative to the pre-pandemic level in 2019

By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 25 February 2022 1 min read

Revenues from Alberta’s restaurants and bars declined in December. Seasonally adjusted receipts stood at $765 million, $27.5 million (3.5%) lower from November and at the lowest level since June 2021.

Sales in Alberta were 7.7% below the pre-pandemic level set in February 2020. Quebec was the next farthest behind its pre-pandemic level (-5.8%) while sales in Newfoundland and Labrador were up the most (+5.6%).

In unadjusted terms, restaurant and bar revenue in Alberta was $8.5 billion in 2021. While this was up $1.0 billion (+14.0%) from 2020, it was $1.4 billion (-14.0%) lower relative to before the pandemic in 2019.

Nationally, sales in 2021 were $65.5 billion for food services and drinking places, $10.4 billion (+18.8%) above 2020, but $11.5 billion (-15.0%) below the 2019 level.

According to Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Survey data, the prices of food purchased at restaurants grew 2.7% in Alberta and 3.1% nationally last year, partly contributing to the higher revenues.

Alberta’s accommodation and food services sector was one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic with its real value-added output falling by 28.5% in 2020. And, as of the most recent Labour Force Survey estimates, employment in the sector in January 2022 was still 28,800 (18.7%) below where it was in February 2020.

Given the restriction relaxation measures currently in place, we expect to see the sector mount a strong recovery story in 2022.

Answer to the previous trivia question: John Philip Holland is considered the inventor of the first practical submarine (1898).

Today’s trivia question: In what year did the McDonald brothers open their first restaurant?

Restaurant and bar revenue in Alberta was $8.5 billion in 2021

Restaurant and bar revenue in Alberta was $8.5 billion in 2021

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