Dining woes: Canada’s restaurants suffer worst year on record

Food trucks, bars and taverns were hit the hardest by lockdowns and restrictions, with sales dropping 48 percent.

Although coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions have started to ease, Canada's food industry is likely to face an uphill battle until consumers are comfortable going out without the fear of catching COVID-19 [File: Cole Burston/Bloomberg]

Canadian restaurants and bars suffered their worst year for sales on record in 2020.

Sales at eating and drinking establishments in Canada dropped 28% from the year before, Statistics Canada reported Thursday in Ottawa. That’s the largest drop in records dating back more than two decades and shows the extent to which large-scale closures and restrictions affected business activity.

Food trucks and catering companies as well as bars, taverns and other drinking spots were hit hardest by the virus containment measures, with sales dropping about 48%. By contrast, limited-service eateries or those specializing in fast food or takeout suffered a sales drop of 13.4%.

Although restrictions have started to ease in major provinces in February, the food and drinking sector is likely to face headwinds until vaccines are widely available and consumers are comfortable going out and spending money without fear of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

Source: Bloomberg