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Manitoba gets a C on 2019 Raise the Bar report card from Restaurants Canada

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Sept. 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the third time since 2015, Restaurants Canada has taken stock of liquor policies impacting foodservice and hospitality businesses from coast to coast in its biennial Raise the Bar report.

Once again, Manitoba has received a C for maintaining the status quo and taking no new action to improve conditions for bars and restaurants. The report outlines the reasons for this grade and provides a path forward for the province to improve its standing.

"It's time to level the playing field," said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. "Hopes are high that the mandate of the next government will tackle inequities from rules regulating off-site liquor sales and other liquor policies disadvantaging Manitoba's licensed foodservice operators."

Full 2019 Raise the Bar report card rankings:

B-Nova Scotia
B-Prince Edward Island
CBritish Columbia
D-New Brunswick
D-Newfoundland & Labrador

Pricing still a sticky subject

Unlike the retail of beverage alcohol to consumers, liquor distribution to Manitoba's bars and restaurants is still controlled entirely by the province. As a result of the government's price-setting policies, licensed establishments struggle to offer their patrons a wide selection of products at competitive prices.

Licensees are still not even permitted to pay by credit card when purchasing liquor, while consumers are afforded this convenience at government-run liquor stores.

Restaurants Canada continues to advocate for more purchasing flexibility and the ability for all licensed establishments to benefit from wholesale pricing or discounts on liquor products.

Off-site rules leaving a bad taste

Manitoba still has done nothing to address the uneven playing field created by the province's rules around selling beverage alcohol for off-site consumption: While hotels can sell liquor products to go and third-party services can deliver alcoholic beverages to customers at home, restaurateurs continue to be shut out from having these options.

Restaurants Canada has recently had fruitful discussions with policy-makers, indicating that changes might be made in this area. But this progress was put on hold when an early election was called.

Survey says...

Compared to two years ago, licensed foodservice operators across Manitoba say liquor policies are:

BetterThe sameWorse

How can Manitoba raise the bar for licensed establishments?

  1. 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. Meanwhile, bar and restaurant operators in Manitoba pay more than retail customers for beverage alcohol. The province still controls the distribution of liquor to licensed establishments in this province, shutting foodservice and hospitality businesses out from wholesale pricing while offering them poor service and a limited selection of products.
  2. Permit licensee-to-licensee sales. Bars and restaurants are currently not permitted to purchase liquor from private retailers, limiting their ability to offer a wider selection of products.
  3. Undertake a comprehensive re-write of liquor legislation to cut red tape and reflect changing market conditions. It's time to update rules that are out of step with modern business practices.
  4. Allow all liquor 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?
  5. Introduce 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.
  6. Reduce excessive markups on beverage alcohol products. The amount of tax collected on liquor in Canada is among the highest in the world. Across the country, 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.

Visit info.restaurantscanada.org/raise-the-bar-2019 to download the full report and join in the online conversation with the hashtag #RaiseTheBar2019.

About Raise the Bar

Raise the Bar is a report produced every two years by Restaurants Canada evaluating the impact of liquor policies on bars and restaurants across the country.

Provincial policies evaluated for the 2019 Raise the Bar report were reviewed within the following four major categories and, after analysis and weighting, each province was given an overall letter grade:

  1. Pricing and Selection
  2. Licensing and Regulation
  3. Customer Sales
  4. Political/Regulatory Activity

All survey results featured in the 2019 Raise the Bar report were compiled from more than 700 responses to an online questionnaire that was emailed to foodservice operators across Canada between June 12 and Aug. 26, 2019.

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada's diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Canada's foodservice sector is an $89 billion industry that directly employs 1.2 million workers, is Canada's number one source of first jobs and serves 22 million customers across the country every day.


News published on 10 september 2019 at 09:05 and distributed by: