PEI

Home delivery, younger diners boosting P.E.I. restaurant sales

Restaurant sales are up almost 10 per cent on P.E.I. this year, a report from Statistics Canada shows, and the P.E.I. Restaurant Association is crediting a new generation and more people taking advantage of home delivery.

Sales up in every month this year

More home delivery is helping to keep restaurant kitchens busy. (CBC)

Restaurant sales are up almost 10 per cent on P.E.I. this year, a report from Statistics Canada shows, and the P.E.I. Restaurant Association is crediting a new generation and more people taking advantage of home delivery.

Association president Carl Nicholson said research indicates millennials tend to eat out more than older generations, or order restaurant food for delivery.

"There's a lot more delivery," said Nicholson.

"One of the huge increases in the restaurant sector right now is in the take-home market, where people are choosing to order [food] through various apps."

Nicholson said in some parts of the country restaurants are being opened without dining rooms. They are just commercial kitchens set up for home delivery.

The Statistics Canada report, released Wednesday morning, lists sales by month up to July.

While the restaurant business is often connected to tourism on the Island, the report shows an increase in every month, including the off-season winter months, which suggests it is not just tourists spending more in the province's restaurants.

"It's a fairly strong economy right now on P.E.I.," said Nicholson.

"Restaurants sales are kind of a reflection of the economy as a whole."

But he cautions that increases in revenue do not necessarily mean restaurants are doing as well as the numbers might initially suggest. Costs, such as a six per cent increase in minimum wage in April, are also up, cutting into profits.

Delivery also does not come cheaply. Restaurants might pay seven to 10 per cent of a bill to the delivery driver, said Nicholson.

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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