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Saskatchewan gets C-minus on 2019 Raise the Bar report card from Restaurants Canada

REGINA, Saskatchewan, 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, Saskatchewan has received a C-minus. The report outlines the reasons for this grade and provides a path forward for the province to improve its standing.

"The uneven way that the provincial government made discounts available to liquor licensees continues to put some businesses at a competitive disadvantage," said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. "Restaurants Canada continues to advocate for all liquor licensees to have equal access to full wholesale pricing."

Full 2019 Raise the Bar report card rankings:

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

Pricing inequities are still hard to swallow

Hope was on the horizon for Saskatchewan's bars and restaurants when the province moved forward with plans to overhaul its liquor system back in 2016.

But unfortunately wholesale pricing on beverage alcohol was introduced for retail permit holders only ? including the roughly 450 establishments that previously had off-sale endorsements (authorizing them to sell alcohol for off-site consumption), essentially grandfathering them to become retail permit holders.

Meanwhile, all other licensees were shut out from wholesale pricing and the ability to apply for an off-sale endorsement. They did, however, become free to purchase products from any of the province's liquor retail permit-holding outlets at negotiated prices.

This initially put many licensed establishments in the absurd position of having to purchase products from their retail permit-holding competitors in the hospitality sector in order to get discounts.

With the number of private liquor stores continuing to grow, restaurateurs are increasingly able to negotiate volume discounts from retailers instead of their direct competitors. But the uneven playing field is still leaving a bad taste for many bars and restaurants who are at a disadvantage compared to their competitors with liquor retail permits.

Survey says...

Compared to two years ago, licensed foodservice operators in Saskatchewan say liquor policies are:

BetterThe sameWorse

How can Saskatchewan 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 full access to discounted wholesale pricing on wine, spirits and beer.
  2. Improve the process for ordering non-stocked products. The process for procuring non-stocked specialty products from government-run liquor stores continues to be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.
  3. Continue to modernize 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 types of 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: