Going out to eat after confinement could look very different. The majority of Quebec restaurant owners want to resume business even if they have to reduce dining room capacity, according to a survey. The Association Restauration Québec (ARQ) surveyed 1,217 restaurant owners between May 6 and May 11 and found that 72% of respondents are in favour of reopening at half capacity. More than half of the owners surveyed said that if the current situation doesn't improve, their establishments will close in one to six months.
"Our survey shows that Quebec restaurant managers are resilient in the face of the situation and that they will be ready to open their dining room in a safe manner for workers and customers when they will have the green light to do so," said François Meunier, Vice-President of public and government affairs at the ARQ.
More than 60% of respondents claimed that they wouldn't be able to financially survive past six months under the current circumstances. Less than 30% of restauranteurs would be able to survive past a year.
The health crisis has forced restaurant owners to adapt to the new reality or go out of business. Close to half the respondents (48%) have had to set up a delivery or take-out service.
76% of establishments have generated, at most, 30% of their usual revenue. In many cases, however, revenue is around 15% of usual.
To punctuate an already bad situation, 67% of restaurant owners have reported close to an 81% decrease in profits compared to this time last year.
In the short term, the survey suggests that restaurant owners must adapt their business models and continue to try to improve their take-out and delivery offerings.
La majorité des restaurants prêts pour la réouverture, même à 50 %, mais... https://t.co/io4ZKhBmv1 via @ARQ_resto— ARQ (@ARQ) 1589460121.0
Though restauranteurs are eager to reopen their dining rooms at 50% capacity, public health officials must approve the motion and work out the best social distancing solutions — a process that could take weeks, if not months.
Furthermore, there's no guarantee that profits would improve as 51% of respondents said they'd be able to financially survive only three months to a year at 50% capacity.
For now, restauranteurs will have no choice but to continue take-out and delivery service despite huge profit losses.
Close to 80% of the respondents applied for the $40,000 Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), a government program that helps small businesses and non-profits cover their operating costs.
"As the figures show, they are very worried and are living in a particularly difficult economic situation which will last for several more months. In the circumstances, there is a need for foodservice companies to be able to qualify for direct financial assistance from governments," said Meunier.
Responding to the concerns of restaurant owners, the ARQ presented 28 recommendations that could help them survive the crisis.
Stay tuned for more news.