Restaurants want in on selling alcohol for off-premise consumption

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Everyone it seems wants to get in on the action when it comes to selling drugs and alcohol to the public. If Restaurants Canada had its way, in addition to offering a take-out menu, there would also be take-out for alcohol.

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.

This year’s report reveals a considerable thirst for selling alcohol through takeout or delivery: Seven out of 10 licensed foodservice businesses told Restaurants Canada that they would benefit from being able to sell alcohol to their patrons to enjoy off-site.

“On-premise sales growth has been flattening out for restaurants in recent years while growth in off-premise sales has been skyrocketing. So it makes sense that licensed operators see the case for expanding their liquor sales off-site as well,” said Shanna Munro, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “In some jurisdictions, third-party services are already allowed to deliver alcohol, but not restaurants. Liquor laws and regulations need to adapt so that foodservice can keep up with modern market realities.”

Report card on provincial liquor policies points to plenty of room for improvement. Progress has been mixed since the last report from Restaurants Canada in 2017 which stated that operational realities for licensed establishments seem to be improving in some regions, while getting worse in others.

While most rules impacting how restaurateurs buy and sell liquor come from the provinces, federal policies can still go a long way to help or hinder the operations of licensed foodservice businesses. For instance, the national tourism strategy unveiled this year was a welcome announcement, as it emphasized the integral role of culinary tourism for promoting the Canadian brand at home and abroad.

Restaurants Canada is recommending that all jurisdictions either implement or keep in place the following measures:
• Make wholesale pricing available to all liquor licensees, for all types of beverage alcohol products
• Modernize liquor legislation
• Introduce or preserve a liquor serve wage
• Reduce excessive markups on beverage alcohol products -CINEWS

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