Restaurants Canada Responds

Labour Costs

Now the number one concern of restaurant operators across Canada, labour costs are cited as having the biggest single impact on profitability and business survival. This comes as no surprise given the restaurant industry’s reliance on people to create and serve an outstanding customer experience.

Restaurants Canada advocacy programming, paid for through member financial support, focuses on communicating with governments to ensure they understand the significance of the sector to overall employment and economic health. Unforseen increases in labour costs have their greatest impact on small and medium sized businesses, many of whom are forced to close when payrolls can’t be met, or labour costs overwhelm the thin margins established by a competitive marketplace.

Food Costs

Everyone understands how expensive it is to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products. Consider how fundamental food is to the restaurant business and voila – the second biggest challenge facing the restaurant industry in Canada.

To help members cope with these costs (and the impact of supply-management policies that artificially elevate the cost of food for Canadians), Restaurants Canada offers members the option of participating in Groupex, the country’s largest foodservice buying group, designed to bring the purchasing power of chains to the independent operator. Though Groupex, Restaurants Canada is are able to negotiate pricing advantages and incentive programs for independent operators, while ensuring members receive top quality products and attentive service from suppliers.

Credit Card Merchant Fees

If you think the credit card interest you pay as a consumer is high, consider the costs passed along to merchants by the major Brands like Visa and Master Card. After all, it is the merchant, not the credit card company, who pays the freight for loyalty programs and benefits card brands use to encourage usage. Restaurant owners have to pay a wide and expensive range of additional fees simply to offer customers the option of payment by credit and debit cards. So much so that credit card merchant fees consistently rate near the top of major challenges to business survival, let alone profitability.

Through a partnership with Chase Paymentech, Restaurants Canada offers consultations for members involving a comparison of current monthly costs to potential savings with its preferred provider. One of the advantages for members is the fact rates have been pre-negotiated based on membership volume, rather than the higher rates most operators would pay based on individual negotiation. Rates, fees and charges are monitored and discussed throughout the year by Restaurants Canada and its Program Advocate who responds personally to service issues and member requests.


For more information on the issues facing food service operators, check out Restaurants Canada’s latest Restaurant Outlook Survey, available While you’re there, feel free to review the programs and member benefits, including those mentioned above.

Paul McKay works with Restaurants Canada as a membership consultant. He can be reached at

 This post was originally published on linkedin. View it here.