Our caterers are the prisoners of the monopoly

News 12 July, 2017
  • Photo archive

    Pascale Déry

    Wednesday, 12 July, 2017 13:22

    Wednesday, 12 July, 2017 13:22

    Look at this article

    The computer problems of the SAQ are pissed off several owners of bars and restaurants in quebec. Delivery times force them to go get themselves crates of alcohol in a branch, stand in line and carry their own commands, and this since nearly a month, in the middle of the season of the terraces.

    The trade Union of workers of the SAQ talk about a delay in the delivery of approximately 100 000 bottles. It makes lose a lot of time for restaurant owners, who sometimes must spend up to one full day per week to manage this situation. Not to mention stock-outs that it entails, which is forcing some to alter their menu accordingly.

    When the situation will be resolved? Soon, said the SAQ, but many restaurateurs have no idea because the communication is, it seems, very bad.

    If you had a business, and that such a situation occurs, what would you do? You would break probably in the contract and would have looked, among the competitors, a supplier is more reliable. However, the restaurateurs québécois do not have this luxury. They do not have the choice. They must endure the setbacks of a monopoly, because there is no other option.

    It goes without saying that in a situation of competition with retailers and other suppliers of alcohol, the SAQ would lose in these days of customers in favour of the latter. But this time, with the monopoly of the SAQ by the Régie des alcools, the restaurateurs and the customers are captive and must endure the misfires. This is one more reason to open the market to competition, as we have already suggested.

    This is what a majority of Quebecers want. Indeed, a survey Light, commissioned recently by the MEI, shows that a strong majority of Quebecers support the idea of opening the market to competition. Among others :

    – 71 % say they agree that independent traders (for example, restaurant owners and retailers) are able to freely import wines and sell them directly to consumers, without being obliged to pass by the SAQ ;

    – 84 % want to have the right to buy wine in Canada, or elsewhere, without going through the SAQ.

    These results should encourage policy makers to liberalize the sale of wine and spirits. This idea is strongly supported by Quebecers, regardless of their age, sex or political affiliation.

    The government has no excuse for not acting now. The end of the monopoly of the sale of wines and spirits in Quebec is not only desired by Quebecers, it is desirable for our entrepreneurs, our restaurateurs, and even for the SAQ, which would not have other choice than to become more efficient and take care of his customers much better than at this time.