Mayor Johnon Tori says the timing of a new delivery deal between SkipTheDishes and LCBO “could be better” as many restaurants in the city need to sell alcohol to stay alive.
“The move the province made in the pandemic to allow restaurants to allow people to take away a bottle of wine they bought at the restaurant … I think it was a very positive thing,” Tori told CP24 on Sunday morning.
“I think the SkipTheDishes initiative, while replacing an older deal, may be poorly timed.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province has allowed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol for pick-up or delivery with food supplies.
The move was seen as a lifeline for restaurants that were forced to close in person during the spring blockade.
Now that Toronto is in another blockade during the second wave of the pandemic, the city’s restaurants are once again relying on takeovers and deliveries to maintain their business.
The new alcohol delivery partnership between SkipTheDishes and LCBO, announced last week, has come under fire from restaurant owners who say they cannot compete with LCBO prices.
“I think the delivery model is great, but my concern is like a restaurant that was forced to close indoors … the only store is through delivery applications,” Thomas Morana, owner of the restaurant in downtown, told CP24. city, Bar Volo. on Saturday night.
“I am currently selling beer and wine as a means of survival and now with LCBO jumping on these apps, they are effectively reducing us because prices are unfortunately more expensive because we buy our product at retail prices.”
Food Delivery Application Fudora previously offered LCBO delivery to Toronto residents earlier this year, but the company stopped operating in Canada in the spring.
Tori said he believed most people supported the liberalization of Ontario alcohol policies, but said the province should consider delaying the initiative while the city is under siege.
“They (restaurants) rely on things like being able to sell alcohol to give them any kind of revenue stream that goes beyond pick-up and drop-off,” Tori said.
“I think they might want another look at the weather and say while these restaurants are closed, we will not do this.”
In a statement sent to CP24 on Saturday night, SkipDishes said the company has been delivering alcohol to several Canadian provinces since 2017.
“In these provinces, we have not seen any evidence that the sale of alcohol to our restaurant partners was adversely affected when alcohol sellers launched their network,” the statement said.
“Adding a bottle of wine to an order for dinner or beer with wings has historically been a different occasion than ordering directly from an alcohol seller.”
The company went on to say that the pandemic “increased alcohol sales” to partner restaurants and that sales continued to grow during the holiday season.