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A Lot of Love for Restaurants and Bars

New data shows that Albertans continue to eat out despite the economic downturn.
 
Total receipts from restaurants and bars across Alberta were $747 million in September. That’s slightly below August’s total, but one per cent greater than the 12-month average. Receipts are above where they were at this point last year by three-quarters of a per cent.
 
Compared to the rest of the provinces, Alberta held onto the number two spot for eating out per capita ($176) in September. B.C. held first place with $191 and the national average was $152.
 
We know economic conditions in Alberta remain difficult and in September, Alberta’s unemployment rate ticked up 8.5 per cent. So why is the restaurant and bar sector doing so well during the downturn?
 
One possible explanation is tourism. The lower Canadian dollar and a strengthening US economy have resulted in another record year for Alberta’s tourism industry. Of course, tourists like to seek out the latest and greatest restaurants. In addition, many Albertans have stayed home rather than vacationing abroad and have likely spent their vacation dollars eating and drinking out.
 
Another potential explanation for these numbers may be due to having more choice. Over the last number of years, Albertans have demanded trendier restaurants and bars that we all feel we need to try. Even in a downturn, it appears that many still line up to try that new spot.



ATB Financial