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Restaurants still struggling due to inflation rates, labour shortages

Richard Alexander with Restaurants Canada, says there was a lot of optimism heading into the summer time until inflation hit record highs
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(stock photo)

Restaurants in Atlantic Canada are still struggling to stay afloat even with most COVID-19 restrictions lifted.

Richard Alexander, the organization's Atlantic vice president, told CityNews Halifax there was a lot of optimism heading into the summer time, but that quickly changed when inflation hit record highs.

"Everyone is experiencing it, but it's particularly acute in the restaurant industry, and that's taking away much of the revenue that's going to be used to pay down their debt and continue with survival," he said.

As a result, restaurants have increased their prices to cope with rising costs but Alexander says that's not going to solve their issues.

"There's only so much that menu prices can go up and consumers are very sensitive to price increases," said Alexander. "More often than not, what's happening is that the owner of the company or the business is trying to absorb those themselves and in many cases, that's impossible. That's what's really causing the crisis of trying to recover from the pandemic debt that's occurred in the industry."

On top of that, Alexander said they're experiencing the worst labour shortage the province has seen in nearly 40 years.

He believes it's a reflection of the province's aging population, adding there are fewer young people coming in to replace those positions.

"The bodies are just not there, which is why we need to speed up and streamline the immigration system," said Alexander. "That's the only way that we're going to keep not only the industry but the economy going."

According to Alexander, the job vacancy rate in Nova Scotia is roughly 4.4 per cent, while the vacancy rate for the province's restaurant industry is nearly double that at 8.7 per cent.

Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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