Government will OK LCBO franchise stores

At the Ontario government’s request, the crown-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will create a "LCBO franchise" system.

Ministry of Consumer and Business Services
September 21, 2001

Government will OK LCBO franchise stores
Up to 150 new LCBO franchises could serve rural Ontario and cottage country; does not effect urban stores or markets
Media Advisory


OTTAWA — September 21, 2001— Consumer and Business Services Minister Norm Sterling will soon unveil a new model for liquor sales in underserviced rural communities and tourist areas. At the Ontario government’s request, the crown-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will create a "LCBO franchise" system. In response to scores of requests to fill service in isolated areas, up to 150 private retailers will be granted franchises by 2003. The proposed franchises will not replace or compete with existing LCBO outlets.

"Until now, too many small towns didn’t get LCBO service because they couldn’t support the overhead of a full-sized LCBO store. With our go-ahead to offer franchises to existing retailers in very small markets, we’ll improve service for residents and visitors, while preserving the LCBO’s social responsibility standards," said Sterling. While service access is the program’s first goal, the economic benefits are also expected to be positive. "With entry into unserved markets, we expect to see better sales - for rural retailers, for small communities, for Ontario wine, beer and spirits producers and for taxpayers," Sterling said.

While the franchise concept is new, a similar model has been tested at six of the over 100 LCBO agency stores. "Our LCBO Franchise Program draws on the lessons learned from our 1999 LCBO agency store pilot program," said Andy Brandt, Chairman of the LCBO. "The biggest lesson learnt is that franchisees can deliver quality service safely and efficiently to markets that just aren’t big enough for a full-service outlet."

Each franchise will:

  • be offered to existing retail stores already in communities
  • stock a product selection tailored to local market needs
  • not be awarded if a municipality rejects the proposal
  • be monitored by LCBO staff - including surprise inspections - to verify compliance social responsibility rules (e.g. no sales to minors)

The final structure of the program, target markets, and the tender process for franchises will be announced shortly.

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