Albertans like to eat out at restaurants
Troy Media – by ATB Financial
Albertans have a bit more disposable income to spend as the province’s economy fires on almost every cylinder. And it looks like those extra dollars are going to one of Albertans’ favourite activities: dining out.
Total restaurant and bar receipts in the province totalled $627 million in February, down slightly from the all-time record high set in January. (The figures are adjusted to take into account the predictable variations by season.) Overall, the past 12 months have seen restaurant and bar receipts rise by 8.3 per cent over the comparable 12 months a year previous.
The survey by Statistics Canada estimates receipts at all full-service Alberta restaurants, limited-services (i.e. fast food) restaurants, special food services such as catering and establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.
Dining out is viewed as a good indicator of the general economy because eating out for many is generally an option. Unlike food purchased in grocery stores, meals and drinks purchased outside the home represent discretionary household spending. Also, corporate spending accounts for entertaining clients and customers may be on the rise as company balance sheets are in good shape.
However, as pointed out in previous issues of The Daily Comment on this topic, restaurant meals could also become the only option for some Alberta families and individuals. Busy lives may simply dictate that eating and entertaining be done outside the home – and for many that means lunch with friends or a night at the pub.