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Restaurant receipts stable, but challenges persist

Restaurant receipts stable, but challenges persist

Posted on: 7/3/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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Over the Canada Day long weekend, many of us enjoyed a bit of a break along with a frosty drink on a patio, a slice of cheesy pizza or a delicious bento box. Restaurants and bars around the province are an important contributor to our economy. And while receipts are holding steady, success is not always on the menu for Alberta’s restaurateurs.

In April, restaurants and bars rang up $770 million in total receipts. This figure is adjusted for seasonality and includes four major types of businesses: limited service (i.e., fast food), full service, bars and pubs, and special food providers such as caterers. Receipts were down a bit from March but were higher than either January or February.

But over the last complete 12 months, the restaurant industry has been uneven. Total receipts are up by only 3.3 per cent compared to the previous 12 month period. That’s better than a decline, but the growth in revenues has likely not kept pace with expenses. Many food products are rising in price (fresh vegetables alone are up 7.7 per cent annually), and labour costs for entry-level workers have also increased.

The summer of 2018 will be critical for the restaurant industry. Higher tourism figures will help boost sales, and more Albertans may stick a little closer to home for their vacation due to the weak Canadian dollar. Some warm patio weather would also help those restaurants with outdoor seating.

Restaurant receipts, graph​​​

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