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Restaurant sales on the rise

For the second year in a row, spending at eating and drinking establishments across Alberta has remained high. Statistics Canada recently released information on spending in May.

For the second year in a row, spending at eating and drinking establishments across Alberta has remained high.

Statistics Canada recently released information on spending in May. In that month sales reached $762,049, almost hitting last May's all-time record high of $762,645, which was largely attributed to displaced residents fleeing the Fort McMurray fire.

Crystal Moore-Orlecky, owner of Cajun House on St. Anne Street, says the amount of customers she has had over the past couple of years has remained strong.

"We haven't seen an increase per se, but we haven't seen much of a decrease either," she says. "It's been fairly consistent."

She says last year brought in a lot of people temporarily staying in St. Albert during the Fort McMurray fire.

"That seemed to boost the sales," she says. "May was quite busy for us."

But when it comes to this May she says sales were dead on with last year.

ATB's The Owl reported that spending increases could be the result of Alberta's improving economy and energy sector.

"We thought we would see an increase in sales this year because we thought maybe the economy was coming back up," says Moore-Orlecky.

Maggie Miron, owner of XIX Nineteen, says sales have been increasing at her establishment, most likely due to the new Botanica condominium complex.

While spending has been on the rise, profitability for restaurants and bars has not. The Owl reported that both food and labour costs have also been increasing.

Tony Saporito, co-owner of Nello's, couldn't agree more. He says increasing minimum wage and restaurant costs have affected restaurants in St. Albert.

"They might be keeping their own, but different factors play in," he says. "You're getting a little more money because the economy is doing better, but on the back-end you're paying it right back to the government and to the employees."

He says sales typically fluctuate at Nello's, some days are busy and others are slow. Nello's started in 2006 and was originally owned by his father. Saporito says regardless of how busy or slow a week is, his restaurant isn't affected too negatively.

Saporito says he has connected with other restaurant owners in St. Albert who have shared the same sentiments.

"It's very up and down, there's no rhyme or reason. And that's the scary part, one day or one week you can be very busy, the next week you can be very slow," he says.


Dayla Lahring

About the Author: Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.
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