The patio season in the summer of 2020 is no other.
Restaurants across Canada will be able to create or expand outdoor dining units early this season, giving them the ability to move quickly and physically move away, and give COVID-minded customers the confidence to dine in the fresh air.
As the lazy, dim days of summer come to an end, the fear of failure grows.
“My wife and I both run the business, and we haven’t slept well,” said Matthew Senekal-Junker, owner of The Birds & the Beats in Vancouver’s Ghostown neighborhood. The restaurant usually has only four to six open seats, but this year the city allowed the couple to convert four parking spaces into a 50-seat patio.
“We are touching capacity, filling virtually every table in our restaurant,” Seneca-Junker said. “We have a little preview of what winter will be like when there is a three-day rainy season in Vancouver, and that means a 42 percent decline from our sales the week before.”
Survival in danger
Windsor, Ont., John McCabean is also concerned.
“I would lie if I said we had no worries about going into the fall and winter,” said McCabe, who co-owns John Max Sports & Wings with Sandbar Waterfront Grill.
“We came to a restaurant where people wanted to sit outside, and when we were full outside and there were only tables inside the house, some of those customers decided not to dine with us that day,” he said.
McCabe and his partners turned an open volleyball court, one of their two sports bars, into a physically distant patio on the sand.
“We expect the loss of Dabas to have a very dramatic impact on our sales,” he said. “Everyone has different levels of concern.”
Canada’s food service sector typically employs 1.2 million people, and before the epidemic, 22 million meals were served per day nationwide, according to industry data.
Statistics Canada recently released Results May Survey on Business Conditions. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has crunched the numbers focusing on restaurant operators and with the current physical distance limits 60 percent of participants do not expect to live beyond three months.
There are already a significant number of restaurants across Canada Permanently closed.
Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty urged Canadians to take political action to promote more financial support to the industry. “Everyone needs to remind elected representatives of the importance of our restaurants in our lives,” Beatty said in a press release.
‘We are not health professionals’
The Chamber has partnered with over 60 well-known restaurant brands in Canada as well as other hospitality companies. Our restaurants. It was also produced Advertising that promotes the industry On social media platforms.
The industry’s own association, Restaurants Canada, will not hesitate to work hard to ease seating requirements, especially as a second wave of the virus begins to build.
“We are not health professionals,” said Mark von Shelwitz, vice president of restaurant Canada for Western Canada. “But many members have approached us to point out that the World Health Organization guidelines for physical distance are not one meter, not two meters. We have a distance of one meter instead, which clearly increases our efficiency and it really helps. “
Van Shelwitz is part of a hospitality industry group that is lobbying the federal government to launch a national campaign to boost consumer confidence in dining. He pointed to the “Eat Out to Help Out” program in the United Kingdom, where customers who dine can get a 50 percent discount on their meal in August, up to £ 10 (approximately $ 17) per person.
The program will cost the government more than expected, as millions of Britons jumped on the bandwagon and raised $ 522 million ($ 900 million).
But in Vancouver, Matthew Senecale-Junkier is calculating on one thing: his landlord.
“They are now asking for full rent,” he said. “And we have a wage rebate and we have a patio, so we were able to pay it and were ready to pay. But I suggested to them yesterday, come October, I’m not saying no – it’s not cash in the bank.”
Calls for more support
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy helped many restaurants and was extended until December, but the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program ended in late August.
Charlottetown, PEI, Kevin and Kathy Murphy have 16 food and beverage operations in three Atlantic provinces, including the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company. Patios have always been a big part of their business, but they already closed their Fishbones Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill earlier this season and are seriously thinking about others.
“Do we need three restaurants on one street?” Asked Murphy. “So we’ll thinking, will we close one in October or November? Go with the other two? We’m also looking at the days of the week. Going five days a week, seven days a week?”
PEI has implemented some of Canada’s strict policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing restaurants to have a maximum of 50 patrons at any time, regardless of the size of the venue.
Murphy and other tourism entrepreneurs in the area have been lobbying the government together for more financial assistance.
“You do what you have to do to survive and make plans to get there,” Murphy said, adding that the industry is always resourceful and creative. To restaurant lovers across the country, he also has a warning about how entrepreneurs should approach the business: “If you do not make money you will not be public.”