COVID-19: restaurateurs want to sell wine and beer for take-out… without having to sell a meal

COVID-19: Les restaurateurs veulent vendre du vin et de la bière pour emporter... sans avoir à vendre un repas

Fearing the impact of the post-COVID-19, the Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ) is of the opinion that some of the restaurants will have to revise their business model. One of the proposed options is that they can sell wine and beer for take-out, and this, without having to sell a meal.

In the last few days, the ARQ has transmitted to its members a list of recommendations for the revival of the restaurant industry.

In the document of 14 pages, of which The Newspaper has obtained a copy, we can read that the Association offers to restaurants and different solutions to compensate for the decline of traffic in the dining halls, which become wine or offer meals ready-to-eat for retail sale.

The ARQ states that the government must soften some laws and regulations to enable the industry to become “an extension” of the network of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ).

“It becomes undeniable that it will take measures to support the industry,” wrote François Meunier, vice-president of public and governmental affairs at ARQ. “For the future, it would be wrong to believe that everyone in the restaurant will be able to ensure its survival with the delivery of meals and counter food to go”, he adds.

The ARQ, which has more than 5500 members, is of the opinion that the conservators could play a similar role to the agencies for the importation of wines.

The organization concedes that this proposal may seem like an attack on the monopoly of the SAQ, but she answers that it is only a perception”. She added that the products offered by the caterers could be complementary to those of the SAQ, “while receiving the same mark-up products in the branches”.

For the beer, the Association says that it could give a boost to the local microbreweries.

Note that since 2010, the conservators may sell wine to take away, however, they must also sell a meal to the customer.

Other applications

Although she understands the necessity of the measures enacted to slow the pandemic, the ARQ is the fear that temporary closures are transformed in the course of the next few weeks as permanent. According to his data, 80 % of its members currently have completely stopped their operations.

In addition, the ARQ request to the governments of other assistance measures, including emergency support monthly to help SMES to pay their fixed costs, an easing of the terms of the emergency Assistance, a program to help the payment of the rents and leave taxes.

In order to encourage consumers to return to restaurants during the revival of the economy, the Association calls for the temporary suspension of the collection of the GST and QST.

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