"Level the playing field"-Restaurants Canada pushes for alcohol delivery and takeout

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For years, Restaurants Canada has requested to governments to allow alcohol in deliveries and for takeout, but it never got much traction. 

But with food-delivery apps, that's changed says the group's central Canada vice-president James Rilett. 

"We've already crossed that threshold, so we might as well level the playing field," he said. "Allow restaurants to do the same thing." 

Last week, Foodora and the Ontario Government announced a pilot project for delivering products through the popular app.

"Our position is, well why not when you're ordering food, just say 'throw a couple of beers in there?'" Rilett said. 

The recommendation comes as Restaurants Canada issued its 2019 report card on provincial liquor policies for bars and restaurants, with Ontario getting a C-. 

But Rilett says with the provincial government's willingness to change alcohol rules, he's hopeful the PCs will make the change. 

As for how much money restaurants could be missing out on, Rilett says there hasn't been a deep financial breakdown, but adds there's clearly a gap. 

"The delivery side of the business is growing by about 30 per cent per year," he said. "Obviously if you can't sell alcohol with those deliveries, that is something that's going to be harming your business." 

The Ontario Government has not responded as to whether it's interested in the pitch. 

The current Foodora deal involves eight LCBO stores, mostly in the downtown core. 

There are some options for offsite consumption depending on the province, but Rilett believes there should be more national standards.