It’s been a rough year for restaurants and it’s not getting any easier thanks to COVID-19.
The latest restaurant closures can be found in Port Coquitlam, where a notice says that both Swiss Chalet and Harveys will be closing down in Fremont Village.
According to the notice, the final day will be Nov. 4.
Both are owned by Recipe Unlimited Corp., which saw system sales fall more than 55 per cent in its most recent quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted dining room closures across Canada.
The company owns Montana's restaurants and earlier this year closed its outlet in Coquitlam Centre permanently.
The Vaughan, Ont.-based company recently said its system sales in its second quarter totalled $389.8 million, down 55.3 per cent or $481.5 million from $871.3 million in the same quarter the previous year.
This is part of growing alarm over the future of the restaurant sector as the pandemic drags on.
The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), produced by Statistics Canada with support from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, found that 29% of accommodation and food service businesses cannot operate at all with social distancing measures in effect.
The survey also found that a further 31% of these businesses will only able to remain operational for up to 90 days with distancing measures in effect. In other words, up to a whopping 60% of the industry could fail within three months.
Report author Harrison Ruess, Public Affairs Officer for the CCC, notes that the figures are particularly concerning since, "83% of businesses in the accommodation and food services industries temporarily closed and two-thirds were forced to lay off some staff due to COVID. According to Restaurants Canada, the food service industry lost 800,000 jobs."
Ruess says that the government hasn't created a recovery plan that is tailored to the needs of the hardest hit industries, such as food services. As a result, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 15 food service businesses, representing more than 60 brands, are launching the ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign.
“We need to act now. Across Canada, our restaurants are where we meet for business or pleasure, where we got our first job and where our families spend a night out. Simply put, our restaurants are cornerstones in our communities,” said Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign underscores the urgent need for Canadians – both the public and our governments – to come together to support these businesses in their time of need.”
The campaign aims to put a spotlight on the current situation faced by Canada’s restaurants amidst COVID-19: high costs, fewer customers, and government programs ill-equipped for the unique, long-term challenges faced by the industry.
- With files from the Canadian Press
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.