Montreal ordinance bans opening of new restaurants … in hopes of protecting existing ones?

Montreal ordinance bans opening of new restaurants … in hopes of protecting existing ones?
Image: Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock

[L]awmakers in Montreal have moved to crack down on new restaurants, in an odious attempt to protect existing ones.

“Montreal has one of the highest restaurant per-capita ratios in North America and the amount of places to eat is worrying local politicians,” reads a Canadian Press piece from earlier this week.

If that sounds awful and weird, that’s because it is. Studies of the best places to eat often conclude that the more restaurants a city has per-capita, the better its restaurant scene. It’s no surprise that the more choices a consumer has, the better off that consumer is.

Montreal does have an impressive number of restaurants. Data shows Montreal trails only New York City in terms of restaurants per capita in North America. As in New York City, that competition is great for Montreal’s consumers. But it puts pressure on incumbent restaurateurs. So lawmakers have decided to side with the latter.

The worry expressed by lawmakers has turned into a ban on new restaurants from opening within 25 meters of an existing one along the city’s Rue Notre Dame….

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