Liquor policies drive deals

Restaurant broker says government reforms are great for business.

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      As a real-estate agent, Shane Morck specializes in restaurants, bars, and pubs.

      When the coprincipal in Vancouver Restaurant Brokers was reached for an interview, he was working on seven different deals.

      The market is busy, according to Morck, who noted that liquor-law changes brought in by the provincial government starting in 2014 have been good for business.

      “It’s a great thing,” Morck told the Georgia Straight by phone about how B.C. is catching up with the rest of the country in terms of its updated liquor laws.

      One of the changes he cited is that minors are now permitted in certain liquor-primary establishments if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. This was intended to increase options for family dining in these places, which should offer a selection of appetizers and main courses.

      Another change is that although food-primary licensees will continue to focus on food service, patrons are not obligated to order food if they just want a drink.

      “The province isn’t so concerned about this foods-and-beverage split that you have to do with the food-primary licence,” Morck noted.

      The result, according to the former restaurateur, is that there are a “lot less liquor-primaries being sold right now, because people are pretty much able to use restaurants like a pub or pretty close to it”.

      Morck said that although B.C. has ditched a number of its “archaic” liquor laws, there are a few things that need some work.

      “For example, a customer on the street buys a bottle of wine for the same price as a restaurant group,” Morck explained. “In other parts around the world, that restaurant group will get a discount from the vineyard so they can make some money.”