Stats Canada has reported a 1.2% decline in food service sales from July 2016 to July 2017, in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is the only province to see a decline in that sector.
"Effective April 1, 2017, restaurant meals in Saskatchewan and other food and beverage items were subject to the provincial sales tax so the PST on the same basis as the goods and services tax, so local restauranteurs are obviously feeling the impact," says Twila Walkeden, Executive Director for the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce.
Changes to liquor laws also may have played a role in the decline according to Walkeden. The stricter laws surrounding liquor are encouraging people to not drink and drive, as well as, people who would normally have a beverage with supper are perhaps staying clear causing a decline in the overall bill.
"Focus on making sure that the people coming into their establishments are enjoying their meal, are having great customer service, and I think that's where they need to focus right now on things that they absolutely can control," says Walkeden. "We can't control PST, we can't control the liquor laws but certainly the training and emphasis on having a great experience is something that they should invest in."
Restaurants will have to try to figure out a way to get customers through the door to increase food sales.