Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Restaurant owners brace for impact of G20


June 17, 2010
By Canadian Pizza


June 17, 2010, Toronto – Toronto restaurateurs in the
downtown core are bracing for a huge drop in sales as the city locks down for
the G20 Summit this month.



While
a small number of venues were selected to host official events, the vast
majority of restaurants will be off limits to visitors and locals during what
is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

“The
government is literally putting up barriers between restaurants and their
customers,” says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and
Foodservices Association (CRFA).  “Last
summer the stink of a garbage strike kept patio customers away, this year it’s
a security fence.”

The
CRFA is calling on the federal government to fully reimburse restaurants for
their losses during the Summit.  “If the
government can spend close to $2 million on a fake lake, then it has the money
to fully compensate restaurants for their loss of business," says Whyte.

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The
CRFA will be monitoring the impact of the G20 Summit on its members, but the
losses are expected to be significant. 
Even Mayor David Miller recently recommended that tourists avoid Toronto
the weekend of the Summit, and major events such as a Blue Jays series and
Mirvish theatre shows have already been canceled or relocated.   In addition, many major employers in the
downtown core have instructed their staff to work from home, which will further
cut into business. 

The
government has promised to reimburse businesses for “losses related to
extraordinary security measures,” and business owners will have to follow an
onerous process that will cost them even more time and money.  Businesses will not be compensated for
property damage that may occur during the Summit.

“The
government has created a club with winners and losers,” says Whyte.  “For those who weren’t invited to the party,
this is going to be very costly.”

There
are over 8,000 restaurant operators in the City of Toronto, employing almost
85,000 people.