Issue 20-118: Food Services and Drinking Places

June 24, 2020

Revenues generated in British Columbia’s food service and drinking places industry fell by 42.8% (seasonally adjusted) in April compared to March. Sales for the month were down in all establishment categories, with the largest declines at drinking places and full-service restaurants.

Compared to the same month in 2019, receipts of food services and drinking places were down by 63.8% (unadjusted) in April. The decrease was widespread across all industry categories, with the largest absolute decline in full-service restaurants, which saw receipts drop by over two-fifths (-80.5%) falling to $91 million in April. Limited-service eating places fared best in percentage terms, with receipts dropping by less than half since last year (-41.4%), likely due to their ability to comply with social-distancing guidelines and COVID-19 orders allowing many limited-service eating places to remain open for take-out and delivery.

Nationally, sales in food services and drinking places fell (-39.7%) in April compared to the previous month. This is the largest decline on record (beginning in 1998). Lower sales were widespread across all subcategories and in all provinces and territories, except Nunavut (+6.5%). The decrease was led by full-service restaurants (-57.6%). Drinking places (-79.1%), limited-service eating places (-22.8%) and special food services (-59.5%) such as food trucks and catering also saw large drops in sales in the month.

Compared to April of last year, sales in food and drinking places were down 61.4% (unadjusted), with all industry subcategories seeing declines. British Columbia had one of the largest year-over-year declines among provinces, along with Quebec (-65.8%).

Around 41% of respondents to this survey reported being closed for the entire month of April, while more than half (around 56%) reported partial closures for the month.

Data Source: Statistics Canada