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COVID-19: National Take-Out Day Helps Restaurants

Next week sees the inauguration of a new Canadian ‘tradition’: National Take-Out Day. The idea is that every Wednesday we all make an extra effort to order take-out from endangered restaurants, to help them financially weather the COVID-19 crisis…

Take-Out Only - © cufo.columbia.eduLocal, non-chain restaurants need your help to survive the COVID-19 crisis!

A new movement dubbed Canada Takeout is uniting restaurant operators and customers in a national effort to help save restaurants suffering under the COVID-19 lock down rules. Fortunately, restaurants are still allowed to operate on a take-out and/or delivery basis. The new group is promoting every Wednesday until further notice as Canada Takeout Day.

A big (virtual) kickoff party

Next Wednesday, April 15, the Canada Takeout will kick off the movement with a national (virtual) dinner party hosted by Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, rallying supporters around a virtual concert featuring the likes of Jim Cuddy, Alan Doyle, Ed Robertson, Barney Bentall, Tom Cochrane, and more.

The need is real and immediate

Restaurants Canada (RC), “a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry,” says the foodservice sector is a $93 billion industry that directly employs 1.2 million workers, is Canada’s number one source of first jobs and serves 22 million customers across the country every day.

According to a recent RC survey, at least 10 percent of the country’s restaurants have closed their doors for good and many others are poised to follow:

  • 800,000 food service sector jobs have been lost since March 1.
  • Four out of five restaurants have laid off employees since March 1.
  • Seven out of 10 foodservice operators will further cut back on staff hours or lay off more employees if conditions do not improve.
  • Nearly one out of 10 restaurants have already closed permanently and another 18 per cent will permanently close within a month if current conditions continue.

“Not only was our industry among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19, we’ve been one of the hardest hit so far, with nearly two thirds of our workforce now lost,” said Restaurants Canada President and CEO Shanna Munro, in a news release. “In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national foodservice association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen.”

If things continue as they have been, Restaurants Canada estimates that, “food service sales will be down nearly $20 billion for the second quarter of 2020.”

Food Service sector has stepped up

“Restaurants have played an essential role during this crisis, but are also uniquely challenged by the impacts of COVID-19. We are encouraged by relief measures introduced so far that have shown the concerns of foodservice are being heard,” said David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec. “Without the steps already taken, the impacts on our industry would be even more devastating. In this time of crisis, it is reassuring to see governments, at all levels, come to the table with solutions.”

Restaurants Canada is currently working with all levels of government to strengthen actions already taken in the following areas to provide foodservice businesses with more immediate protection and relief, as well as help to reopen and rehire.


We can all do our part to help restaurant operators keep their heads above water and retain their skilled staffs by observing Takeout Day every Wednesday for the foreseeable future. Visit the Canada Takeout website to find out which restaurants in your area are still open and observing Takeout Day. Restaurant operators can also visit the site to register as Canada Takeout Day partners…

~ Maggie J.