According to industry statistics, Ontario's hospitality industry has suffered serious setbacks every year since 2001 that have negatively impacted sales both locally and from out-of-province. Beginning with the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, the industry lost significant business due to SARS, West Nile, Mad Cow, the August 2003 power blackout, the NHL lock-out, a high Canadian dollar, anti-smoking laws and now soaring fuel costs.
Ontario's real foodservice sales since 2000 dropped 4.2% compared with a 6.3% increase in the rest of the country. Ever-higher operating costs are squeezing profits to the point that the average margin for the industry is now under 5% while pubs, bars and taverns are around 3.7%.
"We are looking at long-term sustainability for the hospitality industry" said Terry Mundell, president and ceo of the association. "A more competitive, flexible and open marketplace for beverage alcohol without sacrificing social responsibility would go a long way to improving choice, access and pricing of products for our members and their bottom line."