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Albertans spending slows at restaurants and bars

Albertans spending slows at restaurants and bars

Posted on: 4/24/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Annual spending at restaurants and bars in our province has increased every year since 2010, even during the recession of 2015-16. But could the growth in the food and beverage sector be beginning to slow?

After ending 2017 on a record high, food and drink receipts have now experienced two months of decline. During February, Albertans spent $757 million at establishments across the province, 1.2 per cent lower than January and the lowest total since March of last year.

While much of the decline in sales over the course of the month could be due to harsh winter conditions, it’s more likely that the increasing cost of eating out could be starting to take a bite out of Albertans’ wallets. As of February, the price of eating at restaurants in the province had grown by 2.9 per cent from February 2017. And, compared to before the recession, the price of eating out has grown 11 per cent.

The good news is that despite the increasing costs of eating out, restaurant and bar sales have continued to grow on an annual basis—as of February, restaurant and bar receipts were 1.3 per cent higher when compared to the same month a year earlier. Perhaps this is due to the quality and selection of restaurants in the province. Either way, for many people, eating out costs a pretty penne these days and that could begin to eat away at the clientele of Alberta’s restaurants.

Restaurant receipts, graph

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