VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s the time of year many businesses have been waiting on to boost their bottom lines. This long weekend is seen by many as the unofficial start to summer.
“We’ve been inside for so long, it’s been like since last August? I think we’re just itching to get out and do our stuff,” says Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.
Especially given the wetter-than-normal winter and spring across BC, a full patio can make or break a business’s fiscal year.
“I’d say it’s the most important time of the year. You’ve got the effect of tourism, people on holidays, people travelling, summertime. Anytime the weather gets nice — where do we go? We start walking the seawall, going for bike rides, we get out and that in fact that helps restaurants,” says Tostenson. “It’s a 50 per cent increase, 75 per cent increase in business just because the sun is out and the patio is there. It’s really significant.”
He adds the wave of tourists and people generally outside in the sun all help drive sales in restaurants. “I would say that this period from May to the beginning of September, the middle of September is probably the most important part of the year. If you can’t make it then, you’re not going to have a very good year.”
And it’s not just bars and restaurants. This weekend is vital to a number of retailers too.
“For some of them it’s gravy, but for a lot of them it’s their bread and butter and they’re able to make ends meet and then we continually hear about the struggles that retail have,” says Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President Charles Gauthier.
There are also six cruise ships due in Vancouver over the weekend and those passengers and their tourism dollars are a key component when it comes to the bottom line.
“If we didn’t have that tourism component, I don’t think we would have the variety of restaurants that we have and I don’t think that we’d have the extensive retail offerings that are available now,” explains Gauthier. “It’s great news — having tourists in our city is great and having such a busy cruise ship berth is also perfect. That and the fact that the American dollar is worth a lot more than the Canadian dollar, so the spending power for Americans is certainly in their hands.”