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Restaurant industry in BC looking for more government help and employees

The President and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA) is calling for an extension to the capped fees for delivery services such as Skip the Dishes and Doordash.

Last December, the province launched the Emergency Program Act, which placed a temporary cap on fees charged to restaurants to 15% along with an additional 5% limit for other related expenses.

Ian Tostenson spoke with Vista Radio.

“These caps of 20% come off at the end of September, so we are asking the government to step in and do that (extend the capped fees). Otherwise, these rates tend to go up to around 25 or 30%, and then there would be nothing in it for the restaurant industry.”

“When you are in a pandemic like we have been for the last 18 months, every day, every week counts for the businessman so that they can make some plans for the future.”

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In addition, the help wanted sign remains out for many restaurants across the province as the industry continues to deal with a severe labour crunch.

According to the BCRFA, the industry is still short about 40-thousand front and back of the house workers.

Tostenson mentioned the situation is dire and the only way to boost employee numbers is to stay open.

“Most restaurants when they post for jobs they are getting no applicants whatsoever. A lot of people have moved on, a lot of people have gone back to school and a lot of people don’t want to be in the restaurant industry because we have not been good employers because we have closed and have been inconsistent.”

“The industry needs to settle and know that it’s going to stay open and know that there is help coming from labour and money available to help cover these incremental costs. I think that is when you will start to see the regeneration.”

Tostenson would also like to see an extension of vital government programs like the rent and wage subsidies that have kept many restaurants and bars open.

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