With B.C.’s first Family Day scheduled for February 11, the provincial government announced today (January 16) that B.C.’s inaugural Restaurant Week will run in conjunction with the holiday from February 11 to 17. Restaurant Week will help draw attention to more than 12,000 restaurants across the province and the 170,000 employees within the restaurant industry.
"This industry is made up of passionate and creative entrepreneurs,” Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for small business, stated in a news release. “During Family Day, we encourage everyone to get together with their loved ones and support the many people who own and operate restaurant and food establishments in B.C.”
Restaurant Week is a collaboration between the provincial government and the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, which will launch a new website (discoverbcrestaurants.com/) listing restaurants by community on Friday (January 18). The website will also help restaurants display menu specials and Restaurant Week promotions.
“It’s really about telling people to go out and enjoy the restaurants, see the value, get out the pattern, spend a little bit of money, and just reintroduce yourself to restaurants and the fun of hanging out with friends and family,” Ian Tostenson, president of the BCRFA told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
Tostenson said that Restaurant Week is one way the provincial government is trying to help restaurants and small businesses in B.C. The proclamation of Restaurant Week comes less than six months after Minister Rich Coleman announced B.C.’s Bring Your Own Wine program.
“I think the government recognizes that the restaurant industry has been feeling a bit bruised over the last couple years,” Tostenson said. “The economy has dealt the industry a bit of a tough blow; people have been a bit more discerning about eating out and spending.”
While Valentine’s Day—which is typically a busy and lucrative time for restaurants—takes place during Restaurant Week, Tostenson said that he isn’t concerned.
“We thought about that but we thought we’d just blow through it because the restaurants are busy anyways,” he said. “Maybe it’ll make the restaurants even busier on Valentine’s Day. Not every restaurant is full.”
Similar to the BYOW launch, restaurants were not warned prior to this morning’s announcement; however, Tostenson said that he has already heard positive feedback from restaurants like White Spot. He said that the BCRFA’s next step will be to convince the City of Vancouver to create Vancouver Restaurant Week.
“I hope we just get everybody talking about it and get out and have some fun,” Tostenson said. “I don’t think there’s one restaurant that won’t be very, very pleased.”