François Meunier, the vice-president of the l’Association des restaurateurs du Québec, has made the media rounds this week to trumpet the dire results of a recent report on the industry (the word crise–or crisis–is being thrown around liberally).
The association has taken pains to stress that, across the province, failure rates for new restaurants are on the rise, patronage is down and food expenditures as a percentage of a restaurant's total outlay are on the decline.
The statistic that has drawn the most attention, however, is the one that tracks restaurant density. The current numbers show that there are:
· 27.10 restaurants per 10,000 people in Quebec City
· 26.81 restaurants per 10,000 people in Montreal
· 24.69 restaurants per 10,000 people in the province of Quebec, on average
In a vacuum the significance of these numbers is lost. But compare them with Bloomberg's latest figures for the U.S., which has San Francisco on top with 21.44 restaurants per 10,000 people, or five less than Montreal.
The New York metropolitan area is fourth in the U.S. with 19.57 restaurants per 10,000 people — which is roughly the same as Laval.
Comparable numbers for the rest of Canada are murky. Vancouver and Victoria have both laid claim to the most restaurants per capita title in the past. This seems uncertain. What we can say, however, is that the city with the highest concentration of restaurants in North America is not in the United States of America.