Another official indication of just how badly the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Canadian foodservice and restaurant sales has emerged.
A Statistics Canada report released last week shows that restaurants and bars across Canada reported their worst year for sales on record.
The recent data from Statistics Canada shows that sales at eating and drinking establishments across Canada fell over a quarter, by 28.2 per cent, compared to 2019. That is the largest drop on records which span over two decades.
The data also shows that sales in the food services and drinking places subsector declined by 8 per cent to $4.2 billion in December. That came amid further increased public health restrictions in many areas of the country.
Establishments focused on catering, food trucks, as well as bars and taverns were the most affected by the pandemic’s lockdown measures, causing sales to plummet by a massive 48.3 per cent in 2020. In contrast, limited-service food establishments, as well as those focused on fast food or takeout only suffered a 13.4 per cent drop in sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on a number of Canada’s industries and economic sectors, but foodservice and hospitality have frequently been cited as some of the hardest-hit. Accommodation and foodservice are the industries that remain the furthest away from pre-pandemic employment levels.
Despite restrictions beginning to ease in some provinces, foodservice will likely continue to face reduced sales for the near future, at least until vaccines are widely available, most restrictions have ended indefinitely, and more consumers feel comfortable again in going out and spending money.
A previous report from StatsCan, in November 2020, had shed light on just how many foodservice jobs were lost last year due to the effects of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in January, the U.S. National Restaurant Association released its own report assessing the impact of the pandemic on American foodservice.