For the third time since 2015, Restaurants Canada has taken stock of liquor policies impacting foodservice and hospitality businesses from coast to coast.
#RaisetheBar2019 reveals which provinces are at the top of the class and how each jurisdiction can create friendlier conditions for licensed restaurant operators.
Restaurants Canada is recommending that all jurisdictions either implement or keep in place the following five measures:
- Make wholesale pricing available to all liquor licensees, for all types of beverage alcohol products. Currently only restaurateurs in Alberta and on Prince Edward Island have access to discounted wholesale pricing on wine, spirits and beer. Bar and restaurant operators across the rest of the country pay the same as retail customers, and in some cases even more, for at least some types of alcohol.
- Modernize liquor legislation to cut red tape and reflect changing market conditions. Outdated laws and regulations that are out of step with modern business practices are still on the books in every province. Liquor rules have not kept pace with evolving market conditions, leaving licensees poorly positioned to survive and thrive in today’s landscape, let alone prepare for the future.
- Allow all licensees to sell alcohol for off-site consumption. Why should restaurateurs who are trained and trusted to serve alcoholic beverages within their establishments be restricted from selling those same products to their customers to enjoy off-site?
- Introduce or preserve a liquor server wage. A wage differential for tipped workers allows restaurateurs to allocate more towards higher wages for non-gratuity earning kitchen staff, who are typically harder to attract and retain.
- Reduce excessive markups on beverage alcohol products. The amount of tax collected on liquor in Canada is among the highest in the world. A cocktail of federal and provincial taxes and fees currently make up: Nearly 50 per cent of the cost of beer; between 65 and 70 per cent of the final price of wine; and up to 80 per cent of the cost of spirits. In 2017, the Canadian government made an already bad situation worse: the federal budget that year not only increased the excise duties on beverage alcohol products by 2 per cent, it also introduced an automatic annual escalator on those duties. As a result, the amount of money that the federal government collects from all beer, wine and spirits bought and sold within Canada has been going up every year since, without having to face a vote in Parliament.