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What Restaurants need to know about the Canada Digital Adoption Program

Posted on March 15th 2022, 9:00 AM By Perk Hero

On March 3, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the $4 billion Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses with the adoption of digital tools. 
The CDAP is expected to support as many as 160,000 small businesses and help create thousands of jobs, including nearly 30,000 job placements for young Canadians to gain valuable work experience.
Under the CDAP, Canadian small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to assess their digital readiness and apply for grants and loans online. This funding will help them leverage e-commerce opportunities, upgrade or adopt digital technologies, and digitize their operations to stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs in the digital marketplace.
Why is this meaningful for restaurants?
While many industries were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the effects on the restaurant and hospitality industries were particularly devastating. Restaurant operators have shown incredible resilience over the last two years as they faced unprecedented challenges from the pandemic and adopted new technology and business processes to operate in a difficult environment. Now the restaurant industry faces new challenges: food price increases, increased labour costs and labour shortages. 
The great news is that restaurants are eligible for the CDAP program. And, with the right investments in technology, restaurants can meet this latest set of challenges head-on, save costs and increase profitability. In fact, eight in 10 restaurant operators say the use of technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage, and according to the National Restaurant Association, a good proportion of restaurants plan to ramp up investments in technology this year.
Overview of the Canada Digital Adoption Program
There are two programs for restaurants under the Canada Digital Adoption Program:
1. Grow Your Business Online Grant
– Microgrant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies.
2. Boost Your Business Technology Grant
– Up to a maximum grant value of $15,000 per SME to develop a digital adoption plan.
– Access to a 0% interest $100,000 loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to facilitate the acquisition of new technology.
The following provides an overview of the CDAP program including eligibility, the application process, eligible costs, as well as some helpful information on how restaurants can use technology to streamline many processes, such as ordering, payment and loyalty rewards, to enhance their customer experience, improve efficiency and keep costs at a minimum.
Grow Your Business Online Grant
The Grow Your Business Online grant will help up to 90,000 businesses, including restaurants, take advantage of eCommerce opportunities. Eligible businesses will receive a micro-grant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies. Grants will be available through local and regional service providers across Canada. The service providers will also support a network of e-commerce advisors who will advise and help small businesses adopt e-commerce.
The following chart shows the distribution of funds that will be available to Provinces and Territories in Canada for the Grow Your Business Online grant.

Applications can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
– Is a for-profit business (including for-profit social enterprises and co-operatives)– Is a registered or incorporated business– Can be accessed by consumers or provides in-person services to consumers– Has at least one employee– Must commit to maintaining digital adoption strategy for six months after participation in the program– Must consent to participating in follow-up surveys, sharing information with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of the business published as a recipient of funding
Eligible costs include, but are not limited to, the following:
– Costs related to the implementation of a digital e-commerce plan (e.g. online reservation/booking tools, online ordering systems, electronic payments)– Costs related to the installation of an e-commerce platform (including subscription fees/costs)– Costs of back-office solutions to support an e-commerce strategy– Costs of social media advertising– Costs related to the creation of customer databases
What is an example of how a restaurant could use the Grow Your Business Online grant?
As listed above, costs related to online ordering are eligible costs. With the ongoing labour shortage facing restaurants, streamlining the food ordering process is a great use of technology for restaurants to work with less staff while increasing efficiency.
An example of an online ordering solution relevant to restaurants is QR code-based web ordering from table. This technology simplifies ordering and streamlines the dining experience. Managers get as many orders coming in as possible, staff members are safer and the overall flow of customer service improves. 
In the videos below, you can see how Perk Hero’s digital dine-in solution can be used to empower guests to order and pay from the table and how restaurants can easily streamline their ordering and payment process, and focus on the essentials of a great customer experience and preparing food. Perk Hero also provides restaurants with a robust web-based merchant portal to customize their profile, QR codes, and access reporting and promotion tools.

Perk Hero offers restaurants a suite of digital tools including QR code-powered order-from-table, pre-order and pickup, self-managed delivery, and digital loyalty rewards.

Perk Hero provides restaurants with a robust web-based merchant portal to customize their profile, QR codes, and access reporting and promotion tools.

Boost Your Business Technology Grant
The Boost Your Business Technology grant offers support to Canadian-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who want to adopt new digital technologies.
Eligible businesses can leverage the grant to pay for the services of a digital advisor. These advisors will work with companies to recommend digital pathways and strategies that will help them achieve their business goals and increase their competitiveness in the digital economy.
The grant covers up to 90% of the eligible cost of retaining the services of a digital advisor, up to a maximum grant value of $15,000 per SME, to develop a digital adoption plan.
What is an example of how a restaurant could use the Boost Your Business Online grant?
As mentioned above, with the Boost Your Business Online grant, you will be able to pay for the services of a digital advisor who can help you determine your individual business needs and develop a digital e-commerce plan.
An example of a technology that restaurants might consider as part of a digital e-commerce plan is a white-labelled mobile app. A recent survey of U.S. restaurant customers who use some form of technology when ordering food found that 67% of respondents preferred using a restaurant’s own app to websites or food delivery services. The stakes are high, and restaurants nowadays are expected to provide not only meals but also a fully connected environment. This means that they must be prepared to deliver top-notch technology solutions, such as ordering, payment and rewards programs. With a white-labelled app, restaurants can drive more sales without paying commissions to the big delivery app companies, own their own customer data, operate with less staff and incentivize their team to operate more efficiently.

With a white-labelled app, restaurants can drive more sales without paying commissions to the big delivery app companies, own their own customer data, operate with less staff and incentivize their team to operate more efficiently.

BDC 0% Interest Loan
As part of the CDAP, businesses also have the opportunity to secure a 0% interest loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to facilitate the acquisition of new technology. In addition, applicants can leverage the help of talented post-secondary students and recent graduates through subsidized work placements.
Before applying, a business must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
– Be incorporated federally or provincially, or be a Canadian resident sole proprietor– Be a for-profit, privately owned business– Have between 1 – 499 full-time equivalent employees– Have at least $500,000 of annual revenues in one of the previous three tax years
Applying for the CDAP Program
To apply for the CDAP program, start by visiting the Industry Canada website and to find out which grant is right for you, use the CDAP Grant Assessment Tool.
See below for each of the local or regional service providers for the CDAP program:
Business Link
For all of Alberta
Canadian Council for Aboriginal BusinessSmall Business BC
For all of British Columbia
Alacrity CanadaCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of Manitoba
The Momentum Centre Inc.Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of New Brunswick - New Brunswick Association of CBDCs is responsible for pan-Atlantic program delivery.
New Brunswick Association of CBDCs
For all of Newfoundland and Labrador - New Brunswick Association of CBDCs is responsible for pan-Atlantic program delivery.
New Brunswick Association of CBDCs
For all of Northwest Territories
Grow Your Business Online form: Northern TerritoriesCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of Nova Scotia - New Brunswick Association of CBDCs is responsible for pan-Atlantic program delivery.
New Brunswick Association of CBDCs
For all of Nunavut
Grow Your Business Online form: Northern TerritoriesCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of Ontario
Ontario Chamber of CommerceToronto Association of Business Improvement AreasCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For City of Kingston and surrounding area (Lennox and Addington, Frontenac County, and Gananoque)
Kingston Economic Development Corporation
For all of Prince Edward Island - New Brunswick Association of CBDCs is responsible for pan-Atlantic program delivery.
New Brunswick Association of CBDCs
For all of Quebec
Fédération des chambres de commerce du QuébecCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Economic Development AllianceCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
For all of Yukon
Grow Your Business Online form: Northern TerritoriesCanadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Summary
The restaurant industry is facing a new set of challenges: an ongoing labour shortage, increased costs due to inflation, and razor-thin margins that have been eaten away by dependency on the big delivery app companies. We’re pleased that the Government of Canada is stepping up to help restaurants grow by adopting new digital tools. We believe that the future of dining is digital and it is encouraging to see the Government provide support as restaurants are struggling to bounce back from the pandemic. Every restaurant is different and it will be important for restaurants to conduct a needs assessment before determining which technology to invest in. 
Based on our experience working closely with restaurant owners, we expect to see many restaurants investing in digital resources such as online or app ordering, reservations, mobile payment, or delivery management, in addition to back-of-the-house technology. This is validated by a large number of restaurant guests preferring the use of technology where it doesn’t diminish hospitality.
If you have any questions regarding the CDAP application process or are interested in upgrading your restaurant technology using the Perk Hero platform, please contact us at partners@perkhero.com.

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