Forty percent of Canadian restaurant owners expect sales to increase over next six months, survey says; 25% planning to hire more employees; average restaurant same-store sales rose 0.6% year-over-year in Q1

TORONTO , April 30, 2012 (press release) – After a lacklustre start to the year, nearly 40% of restaurant owners expect sales to pick up steam over the next six months, according to the latest Restaurant Outlook Survey by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). To accommodate this growth, a quarter of restaurateurs are planning to hire more employees.

Average restaurant same-store sales rose by just 0.6% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a year earlier, but the economic recovery and onset of the busy summer season are boosting optimism. Restaurateurs are still plagued by rising food and labour costs, however, as well as rising gas prices.

“Despite these roadblocks, the restaurant industry continues to play a critical role in job creation, particularly at this time of year when students are looking for summer jobs,” says Garth Whyte, CRFA President and CEO. “This survey has good news for Canadians – restaurants will be hiring more people, creating economic and social benefits in communities across the country.”

Survey highlights
The results from the first quarter of 2012, released today, show a marked improvement in the restaurant industry’s optimism:

* 38% of restaurateurs expect sales growth to pick up speed over the next six months – compared to 22% of respondents in Q4 of 2011.
* 19% predict sales growth will slow down, compared to 31% in Q4.
* 43% expect sales to be about the same.
* 25% will hire more staff over the next six months, compared to just 12% in Q4, and the majority (61%) will maintain employment levels.

Restaurateurs face the same pressures identified at the end of 2011, with the top two obstacles being rising food prices (cited by 71% of respondents) and growing labour costs (cited by 60%). An increasing number of restaurateurs say rising liquor and gas prices are taking a toll on business.

About the survey
CRFA’s Restaurant Outlooks Survey tracks business conditions for nearly 8,500 foodservice establishments across Canada. For more results, click here.

CRFA is one of Canada’s largest business associations, with more than 30,000 members representing restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and other foodservice providers. Canada’s restaurant industry employs more than one million people in communities across the country.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.