With the Canadian restaurant industry reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, Molson Coors has joined 14 other business leaders in a campaign that aims to bring awareness to the dire situation facing the service industry, and how consumers and the government can help.
Led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, with support and resources from major restaurant, beverage and food-industry concerns such as Boston Pizza, Restaurants Canada and Sysco Canada, the “Our Restaurants” campaign began last week.
The campaign urges Canadians to support restaurants by dining in or ordering takeout and reminds them that restaurants have undertaken many measures to ensure their safety. It also encourages the Canadian government to support the industry through policies, including wage subsidies, tax excisions, eviction moratoriums and more.
“Restaurants are part of the fabric of every community in Canada. They’re a place to unwind — gathering spots that have created a lot of memories for people. We want to make sure they’re supported,” says Steve Zmudczynski, national vice president of on-premise and emerging growth for Molson Coors’ Canadian operations.
With the end of Canada’s outdoor dining season in sight, the campaign to get diners to return takes on added importance.
“Everyone has their own perception of what’s safe, but restaurants are following Health Agency guidance, investing resources to make Canadians feel safe while dining out,” Zmudczynski says. “They’re ready when you are.”
The pandemic forced more than 80% of restaurants across Canada to shut their doors in March, causing the loss of 800,000 jobs, according to data from Statistics Canada, the national statistical agency.
Even after restaurants implemented recommended safety protocols – including social distancing, mask wearing, replacing physical menus with digital options and minimized interactions with customers and staff – more than 60% of Canadian restaurants say they cannot survive in the current business climate unless more consumers return and government support is extended.
“We need to act now. Across Canada, our restaurants are where we meet for business or pleasure, where we got our first job and where our families spend a night out. Simply put, our restaurants are cornerstones in our communities,” says Hon. Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign underscores the urgent need for Canadians – both the public and our governments – to come together to support these businesses in their time of need.”
Before the pandemic struck, the restaurant business accounted for one out of 15 jobs, employing 1.2 million people and contributing $31 billion to the Canadian economy, according to Restaurants Canada, an industry group. Additionally, it supports other businesses and employment opportunities, including beverage makers, delivery drivers and janitorial services, among others.
Without government support, the campaign contends, the industry faces grave danger. Leaders involved in the “Our Restaurants” campaign delivered a letter last month to the Council of the Federation explaining the need for more commitments from the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Molson Coors has continued to support the hard-hit service industry worldwide. In the U.K., where pub traffic is down 40%, its Carling beer brand this month launched a campaign called “Support Your Local,” encouraging legal-age drinkers to return to their favorite pubs.
It also is a backer of the British government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” program.
In the Czech Republic, its Staropramen brand backed the “Zachraň hospodu” campaign, which encouraged consumers to buy vouchers from their local pubs while they were shut down.
And in March, the beverage maker pledged $1 million to the United States Bartenders' Guild, a nonprofit that supports bartenders and other service industry professionals. Its second-largest U.S. brand, Miller Lite, also spearheaded a Virtual Tip Jar campaign, encouraging others to support the industry.