Initiatives / Accomplishments
- Credit Card Processing Rates - Did an extensive RFP (request for proposal) from all major banks & credit card processors to find the lowest rate that we can pass on to members. Our selected supplier is SONA, based here in Nova Scotia and offering greatest rates to fit smaller and larger size businesses.
- Information for Employee Handbooks - RANS has developed a number of information pieces & policies that can be added to an employee hand book or posted for staff. All of these have been vetted and reflect good practices. Current ones are for Sexual Harassment & Cannabis usage by employees.
- Liquor Regulations and Changes - RANS has completed an extensive review of all liquor regulations, and complied a report and file with Alcohol & Gaming (Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division of Service Nova Scotia). This is the document that they consult making changes to liquor regulations. Our association is always consulted and we have been very effective in making change to the betterment of the food & beverage sector.
- Wholesale Pricing for Spirits and Wines - A big win for restaurants & bars. RANS negotiated a 10% discount on the above categories, which is a significant impact on the bottom line for restaurants and bars. (Estimated at $2 million worth of saving per year for food & beverage operators).
- Regulatory Issues - RANS has strong network within government departments & agencies that have regulations that impact our sector. We are on a one-on-one basis with key officials and are always consulted prior to any new or revise regulatory changes.
- Connected to Government - Our association takes steps to be connected not only to all political parties but with the various levels of government. We make presentations to various political caucuses, and meet with provincial and federal ministers on a regular basis. We work with municipal governments on regulatory environment targets in the food and beverage sector with issues like garbage, property taxation, outdoor patios, parking, advertising, smoking/cannabis, etc.
- Starting and Running a Restaurant in Nova Scotia Guidebook - RANS has developed a complete guide for new and existing operators. This is the first step for new entrants, and a helping hand for existing operators. We offer it free to anyone because we care about our industry and its evolution. Education is key. To view or download a copy, click here.
- Staffing Issues - Our association has participated in a long range labour study of our sector. It is clear there is mounting labour shortages, particularly with kitchen cooks and red-seal chefs. We are engaged with numerous programs and organizations to work at reducing this growing issue. We are also experimenting with new programming with the apprenticeship program to encourage people to enter our sector for a career. Organizations that we are currently working with are: NS. Immigration, Atlantic Pilot Program, BBI, NSCC, Service Canada, NSHRC and Immigration Canada.
- Premier Meeting - We have developed a long term relationship with the office of the Premier and we have two private meetings a year directly with the Premier. We focus on three or four core issues that we try and move the agenda forward. This has been very helpful to our sector and has created a good working relationship with successive governments.
- Wholesale Pricing - The association is pressing to extend wholesale pricing to beer and readymade drinks (RMDs). The key focus is with the Minister of Finance (who has the responsibility of the NSLC) and the CEO of the NSLC.
- Wheelchair Accessible Washrooms - In the fall of 2018 after a court case it was determined that all restaurant washrooms must be wheelchair compliant. Our force will be to help guide the new rules for construction and allowing for exception for smaller ones that would not be able to comply because of structural issues. This work is in progress and RANS has a seat at the main table where these issues are resolved.
- Liquor Regulation Changes - A number of new changes and regulations are coming to our sector. These were all part of our list that we have provided to Alcohol and Gaming. We will be pushing the process and relaying to the industry once approved. There are approximately five changes coming in 2019.
- Food Safety Changes - We anticipate several changes to the food inspection process. Since the change from Agriculture to Dept. of Environment for food inspections, a number of changes are, and will, be implemented. We are briefed on a one to one basis on these changes. We will also pursue to allow dogs on outdoor patios. This was something that we had in place and was pulled at the last minute.
- Tip Differential - A rather complex issue that the association has been working on for years. This is also tied to minimum wage. The long range concern is where the minimum wage is heading. $15/hour would be an enormous burden on our sector and could trigger closures and massive staff cut backs. Hidden behind this is approximately $80 million dollars in tips left each year in NS. Tip differential would allow operators to pay less per hour where people are receiving tips as part of an overall wage package. We have had several meetings with the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education on this issue and are building support for this direction.
- Research and Statistics - We have been pushing to have regular stats gathered and published on a regular basis on the food and beverage sector. RANS has the most current data on what is happening in our sector at a single source and will be building its network with other agencies, companies, and departments to enhance the stats picture for food and beverage. We will be using our bite business e-news to push out to the industry.
- Labour Shortages - We have explored and assisted in developing programs that will encourage people to look at the food and beverage sector. In particular, our kitchens are the primary focus, but it will soon impact other areas of restaurant operations. A secondary element is working to cut down the time it takes to get foreign workers into our sector (via Foreign Worker Program & the Atlantic Pilot project). It is one of the biggest challenges in our sector and the outlook is not good.
- BIC (Benefit Incentive Program) - This program has been worked on for some time now and will launch in 2019. Designed for employees of the food and beverage sector, it will give employees a card that offers a range of discounts and services. This will be free and available to any employee who works for a member business.