Too Much Red Tape, Toronto Operators Complain

Canada’s economy and restaurant business has held steadier during the recession than in the United States, but that doesn’t mean its restaurateurs are any happier. According to a new survey by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, reducing red tape and bureaucracy was the No. 1 election issue this fall for Toronto’s restaurant community; nine out of 10 restaurant owners surveyed called it important or very important to their business. “We heard from restaurant owners who have invested their life savings into opening a new business in Toronto, only to be abandoned by City Hall. Our local government is working against restaurant owners, instead of creating conditions for success,” says CRFA Pres. and CEO Garth Whyte. “This is a wake-up call. If you want a vibrant city, you need a vibrant restaurant sector.”

The survey also revealed that—due to both the economy and bureaucratic red tape—23% of respondents scaled back on expansion plans and 30% scaled back on renovations.

Toronto’s 8,100 restaurants, caterers and bars generate $5.8 billion (Canadian) in annual revenue, contribute $40 million in property taxes, and employ nearly 85,000 people.

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