Strathcona residents spend more on dining that Edmonton, Canada average


Strathcona residents spend more on dining that Edmonton, Canada average

With so many new restaurants popping up in Sherwood Park over recent years, this may come as no surprise, but Strathcona County residents really enjoy dining out.

In a recent retail market study conducted by the county, it found that residents spend an average for $1040 per capita in restaurants, which is 16 per cent higher than what the average Edmontonian spends. The average has also increased in recent years, up from $964 per capita in 2010.

According to Randy Richards, manager of commercial development with Strathcona County, this likely ties into the average household income in the municipality, which is 37 per cent higher than the Edmonton average.

“With all of this in mind, Strathcona County is a very attractive location for the restaurant operators and continues to garner interest,” he said.

According to The Owl, a publication about Alberta’s economy written by ATB Financial, the average Albertan is spending slightly less in restaurants and bars, but still significantly more than the national average. The average Albertan spends approximately $175 per month and restaurants and bars, whereas the national average is $136.

The percentage of floor space dedicated to restaurants also continues to grow in he municipality, according to the county’s study. In 2013, there was 394,000 square feet occupied by casual and sit-down dining establishments. That makes up 13 per cent of all retail floor space in Sherwood Park. In 2010, restaurants made up 11 per cent of retail floor space, which equaled 267,000 square feet.

With more restaurants comes a more diverse range of eating options, said Tara Polinski, small business and tourism specialist with Strathcona County.

“What I see as a change in the industry is a lot of the ethnic foods are coming in, which I think it wonderful,” she said. “Our message to residents is stay in Sherwood Park and Strathcona County. There are many options. You don’t have to go into Edmonton. I think the only thing we’re missing is Ethiopian.”

Strathcona’s restaurants accounted for an estimated $102 million in sales in 2013, according to the same study, which calculates to be $394 per square foot of restaurant space. The average for all retail floor space in the county including all other types of stores and malls was $380 per square foot in 2013. In 2010, restaurants had approximately $89 million worth of sales.

On top of helping feed the municipality, the restaurant business is also a major supplier of local jobs. Restaurants employ approximately 3,900 people, which makes up 7.9 per cent of jobs the community, according to Statistics Canada.

This article, written by freelance writer Dave S. Clark was originally published in Sherwood Park News.