It’s More than Just CERB…

Vaccination rates are climbing. Provinces are starting to reopen. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer. And yet we are still stumbling to figure out what comes next it seems. This article in the Toronto Star caught my eye:

This sentiment is something I’ve seen pop up online in social media. The notion that CERB or the Canada Response Benefit is holding people back from returning to work. That those who are receiving the payment are inherently lazy and don’t want to work. The rebuttal is that, if receiving CRB is more appealing than returning to your work place, then you need to provide better working conditions. Which is a compelling argument I admit.
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What the Toronto BBQ fiasco tells us about ourselves…

The in the latter half of November, it appeared that a plague of misinformation and conspiracy fuelled anti-masking may have taken root here in Canada. By now the story of the lone restauranteur who decided to defy public health guidelines because of a google search he did gained national headlines.

However, that turned out not to be the case. The restaurants on the front lines, the ones who’s livelihoods are being threatened with bankruptcy, the ones with a lot to lose due to these restrictions, didn’t flock to his support.

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Doug, would you like some waffle with those ribs?

If you live in the GTHA, then everyone is aware of Adamson BBQ’s supposed defiant stand against COVID-19 regulations. Restauranteur Adam Skelly, posted to his Instagram his plans to defy Toronto’s lockdown order and open his restaurant for full service yesterday. His justification for defying the rules? Well it’s apparently buried in his Google search history.

Regardless, his actions drew out the crowd you’d suspect. The conspiracy driven and selfish of the GTA. The ones who don’t care about you or I? Or the loved ones we haven’t been able to see because we all have stronger fortitude to see our selves through this pandemic than they do.

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Is this a path forward for restaurants?

This is a terrific opinion piece in the New York Times today. As many long time readers of my site know, I’m very passionate about the survival of the hospitality sector. However, I am also a realist. I don’t believe there is a return to the way things were in the past.

The pandemic is forcing our restauranteurs to innovate and find new models for success. This column in the Times I think shows a path forward. Some of the circumstances are different from here in Canada. However, one of the good things is that the help that will be needed to facilitate the transition is mostly still in place here in Canada. Wage subsidy, rent relief and financial help for people are a part of our lives now in Canada. If we play this right, the industry just might survive.

A woman prepares a cake in a restaurant kitchen

How to Save Restaurants

By Priya Krishna of the New York Times

Small things can add up quickly

Summer is coming to an end. Patios were often filled with families and friends enjoying the great weather we had. If you strolled by parks, you’d hear the laughter of kids playing and running. That first take of the situation would lead one to be convinced that we’d indeed surpassed the pandemic. We had adjusted our lifestyle and beaten COVID-19.

What if I told you that was a lie? Things are not okay. By many accounts they won’t get any better any time soon. The weather is about to get colder. In Canada we know what that means, we tend to retreat indoors seeking warmth and fellowship. In the age of COVID-19 though, that is a recipe for disaster. Patios are going to be shut down soon, schools are starting up, and we haven’t seemed to make any adjustments for what life will look like this fall.

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The 905er Episode 5 is ready to listen to!

This weeks episode was a bit of a change of pace. Still fascinating nevertheless. If you’ve been a long time reader of my site, you’ll know that the hospitality industry holds a special place in my heart.

We spoke with Jason Cassis owner of Equal Parts Hospitality in Hamilton. While other restaurants are shutting down or barely staying afloat, he is taking the initiative to open a new concept restaurant. A virtual kitchen called Mamma Rossa, which serves exclusively delivery and catering options to customers.

It was a fascinating and in my opinion really uplifting discussion. The pandemic has provided new opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of. We’ll need that innovation and risk taking spirit to transform our economy into a post-COVID19 model.

Have a listen on your favourite podcast app and subscribe by clicking on the link here.

Or listen here:

Life with COVID-19 is more complicated than we thought

As many provinces and jurisdictions across the province continue to reopen their economies, confusion is starting to take hold. It is understandable to see the rush to restaurants and public spaces again. Especially after being in lockdown for four months.

However as the economy reopens its apparent that we are seeing a steady increase in new cases. The fact is clear, as social distancing guidelines are lifted or loosened COVID-19 comes back. Which leads us to the obvious fact. We are not returning to our way of life prior to March 2020. Things we took for granted, like being able to window shop, browse, go out and run errands, or sit for hours in a restaurant catching up with friends are indeed history. New norms and practices are going to be needed. Not only for our safety, but to level the playing field for businesses.

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This is how we ruin it for everyone

The move into stage 3 in Toronto happened prematurely it seems at MARBL restaurant. Check out this video reported on by the CBC.

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Lessons learned for restaurants and small businesses in Stage 2

So the Stage 2 reopening continues across Canada. More so in a haphazard manner rather than a seamless rollout. Mandatory mask mandates are inconsistent across jurisdictions. As well, there seems to be a reluctance on the part of local governments to make new COVID-19 guidelines mandatory. I spoke earlier in the week about why I thought adding these new guidelines into public health criteria is important. Here in Halton region however, the public health unit has made it abundantly clear that it will not be inspecting local restaurants or businesses for adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

So that leaves small businesses on their own to ensure public safety as we reopen our economy. Personally I think its a tall order to put on the backs of small business owners, but here we are. What this means for restaurants and other small businesses, is that it is now incumbent on them to ensure the public has confidence that their safety is now the owners top priority. Unsurprisingly, it has lead to some confusion amongst the public as businesses adapt to a new business model.

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A little confidence can go a long way…

I fear that there is a new complacency out there. As the country reopens our economy stage by stage, province by province the consensus seems to be, we’ve beat this thing lets go back to the way things were. Perhaps that is why Dr. Tam, needed to issue a reminder that COVID-19 is still a thing and can come back and bite us in the butt if we’re not ready.

Here in Ontario, we’ve reopened into stage 2. The highlight of which is that haircuts are now available and patios are open for business. All under new guidelines for operating. The problem is that there is no enforcement of these guidelines. When probed on this idea of enforcement, Premier Doug Ford responded with a shrug and stating its impossible to do. I’m sorry Doug, but in this case the honour system isn’t going to cut it.

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