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Pub is allowed to keep seats outside, which saved business during the pandemic


One council has granted pub owners planning permission to retain their beloved outdoor seating, which they say has kept their business afloat for the past 18 months.

The owners of The Blaenogwr in Nant-y-Moel, Bridgend, have already been told their £ 7,000 wooden seating area could be removed because they had not applied for a building permit, but the local authority now says that he can stay.

Co-owner Sadie Davies, who runs the business with his wife Kayleigh, said the news that the facility could stay is “absolutely brilliant”. “It’s just one less thing we have to worry about. We can just go on as usual now and have some events outside. Hopefully the sun stays out.”

Read more: The best pubs in Wales in 2021: 50 places you owe it to yourself to drink this year

The couple said the outdoor space, which includes an outdoor bar, saved the family business when Covid restrictions only allowed outdoor gatherings. They want to make the most of their outdoor space and have an Oktoberfest with live music on the bank holidays on Sunday August 29th.

Kayleigh and Sadie built the outdoor space last summer and opened it to clients in July 2020. Bridgend’s council then contacted them in March 2021 to inform them that they needed a building permit, which they had not requested, as the patio is a commercial structure of a certain size which is close to residential properties.

Sadie [left] and his wife Kayleigh [right] They were told they could keep their outdoor seating area and bar in their family pub in Nant-y-Moel, Bridgend

The staff of the Blaenogwr in Nant-y-Moel will host a live music event on Sunday August 29

Sadie said she researched the council’s planning guidelines before building the patio, but accidentally followed the rules for residential buildings instead of commercial properties. She then applied for a retrospective planning permit, which was granted to her by the city council on Tuesday, July 13.

Now the outdoor seating and the bar can stay, Sadie said it would help the business “massively”. “Obviously, if the number of Covid cases increases again or the restrictions remain in place, then being able to use the outdoor space we have is more beneficial to us than inside. We can make the most of it now. . We are all happy. “

She said business had recently been “very good” with the lifting of Covid restrictions in recent months. She hopes Mark Drakeford will lift all measures by the end of the summer so that they can “get back to normal”.

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The negative impact of the payday loan


A payday loan is a type of loan where you have to pay the entire amount with an interest rate. The loan is a short-term loan, which means you will have to pay it off in less than seven months of interest. Or you have decided to renew your loan after the borrowing period has been reached. If you don’t pay on time, you get a big problem. Here is the bad impact of payday loans.

What is a payday loan?

Payday loans are advertised quickly and loans are easy to borrow to pay off your next installment. The interest of the personal loan is higher compared to the average credit. Hence, some of the borrowers cannot afford to pay the loans covered on the expense bases. You will need to renew the same additional loan within two weeks.

What is the negative impact of a payday loan?

The median borrower will have to pay a higher price. The thousand dollar payday loan is in serious default.

The bad thing is if you don’t pay your loan on time, then the paying lender will have the right to access your bank account and will be able to prioritize all payments over all your bills.

The worst thing that an indebted borrower is likely to be is forcing alternative financing expenses out of your income.

The problem affects the whole family. Therefore, low-income families eligible for payday loans are more likely to have a hard time raising bills and mortgages. A payday loan is also a default in child support payments.

This can have consequences for parents who cannot make a payment on time to start.

The bad impact of payday loans can affect the whole family who pays for the practice. A payday loan is emptied of fees of an economical.

The proposed model aims to affect the use of payday loans in times of financial distress. And it is difficult to pay the mortgage.

Why are payday loans bad?

Payday loans are expensive to borrow short term for high costs, often for a small amount. People think that a payday loan is optional to help you with the next payday.

The payday loan is a good idea to increase the high rate of interest associated with the extraordinary rate of interest to be modified. You may miss the cost of paying your loans. When you take a payday advance, it is the best way to build your income.

How to get a payday loan

Despite the bad impact of payday loans, people still apply them daily. To get the loan, you will have to go to the cashier and apply for the loan to verify the counter-granting of the loan to receive the post-date check. Once you have applied for the loan, you will receive the full check fee and you can sign out.

After you take out the loan with the payday, it starts to affect the next month. If you are unable to become a debtor, he will cash all post-dated checks. You will need to collect your check after the loan is returned.

Why you should avoid the payday loan

You have to repay the full amount with a high interest rate.

He earns more in the short term for a long time and avoids wasting money.

A payday loan is addictive once you start to acquire the habits.

However, there are fewer benefits than the bad impact of the payday loan for the lender and the receiver. It won’t change the financial situation anytime soon.

Although some payday loan consolidation programs can be useful for consolidating payday debts.


The bad impact of a payday loan is recommendable unless you get it, seriously discuss it with your lender. Many people in debt make a living with difficulty with the money to survive thanks to the government.

How To Get A Debt Consolidation Loan In 5 Steps Smart change: personal finance


4. Apply for your loan

Once you’ve found the best lender, it’s time to apply for the loan. You will likely need to provide additional documents. Your lender can tell you what they need, but you will usually need to provide documents such as your most recent pay stub, past income tax returns, bank statements, or your personal ID, such as a copy of your driver’s license.

Most lenders only take a few minutes to review your application and qualify you, but if they need additional documents it can take a few days. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for emails or phone calls from your lender during this time in case they need anything. This can speed up the approval process so you can get your response back sooner.

5. Pay off your loan

If you’ve been approved, congratulations! Now is a good time to sign up for automatic payment so you don’t have late payment charges or damage your credit due to a late payment mark on your credit report.

It is also a good time to avoid getting into debt in the future. Not everyone gets into debt for their own faults (hello, medical bills and low wages). But if you could do a little better with it save more and by spending less, it is crucial to work in these areas so that you don’t have another pile of debt by the time you pay off that loan.

What is a title loan and how does it work?


A title loan is a short term, high interest loan that requires your car as collateral to borrow money. If you don’t have great credit and need to take out a loan, you might be browsing places that will accept your poor credit score or scarce credit history. Title lenders usually don’t check your credit history, but you might face other hurdles.

If you’re thinking about a title loan, here’s what you need to know before getting one.

What is a title loan?

A title loan is a secured loan that allows borrowers to use their vehicle as collateral. Since your car guarantees the repayment of the loan, the lender can repossess your car if you do not pay off the loan on time. Title loans are generally short term, high interest loans that have low requirements, which means that if your credit is low, you will still have the chance to qualify. Often times, credit scores and history are not taken into account at all.

How does securities lending work?

You can apply for a title loan from a lender that offers one, as long as you own your vehicle and have a non-lien car title. When you apply, you’ll need to show your lender your car, proof of ownership (your car’s title), and your license.

If approved, you will return title to your car in exchange for the loan. While the lender determines the terms of your loan, title loans typically have a term of 30 days, similar to payday loans. This means that you will make a lump sum payment at the end of your loan period. You are required to make payments on the amount you borrowed, plus interest and fees. Most lenders charge a monthly fee of 25% of the loan amount, which translates into an annual percentage rate (APR) of at least 300%.

This is where securities lending can become a headache. If you don’t pay off your loan on time, you can lose your car because it serves as collateral. So if you choose to take out a title loan, make sure you pay on time so you don’t risk losing your asset.

How much can you borrow with a title loan

Your loan limit is between 25% and 50% of the total car value, and the lender will examine your car to determine its value. Some loans are as low as $ 100, while others exceed $ 10,000 or more.

When Should You Get a Title Loan?

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 20% of car title loan borrowers have their car seized when they cannot pay off their loan in full. Car title loan lenders derive the majority of their business from borrowers who continually take out new loans to cover their old ones. More than half of auto loans become long-term debt, and more than four in five auto loans are re-borrowed because borrowers cannot pay them off in full in one installment.

For this reason, you should research alternative financing methods before taking out a title loan. Alternative payday loans from credit unions, personal loans from online lenders, credit cards, and even borrowing money from friends and family are all better options than the potential loss of your vehicle.

Advantages and disadvantages of securities lending

Before taking out a title loan, first consider the pros and cons. This can help you determine if this is the right decision for you.

Benefits of Securities Lending

  • No credit check: Most title loans do not require a credit check. This is good news if you need to borrow money, have exhausted all other available options, and don’t have good credit to qualify for a traditional loan.
  • Fast approval and access to funds: Since there is no credit check, lenders only take a few minutes to review your application and your vehicle. Once approved, you can receive funds almost immediately or within days.

Disadvantages of Title Loans

  • Potential debt trap: The CFPB says more than half of auto title loans become a burden on borrowers. This means that borrowers continue to take out new loans to pay off old ones, continuing a cycle of debt they cannot get out of. This is harmful and dangerous because it keeps you in debt for months after your first loan.
  • Exorbitant interest and fees: APRs for securities lending can be as high as 300%, due to interest rates, finance charges and other charges. These fees add up, which only further affects your financial obligations.
  • Short repayment terms: Title loans generally require repayment within 15 to 30 days. Compare that to traditional loans, which typically have repayment terms of six months to three years, depending on how much you borrow. A 15-30 day repayment period doesn’t always give you enough time to find the funds to pay off the loan you borrowed, plus the high APR.
  • You could lose assets: Car title loans can put you in a horrible situation: continue to rack up a heavy debt burden or hand over your car. Stay on top of your payments to avoid the potential charges that securities lending can bring.

Alternatives to securities lending

Almost all of the options available are probably better than a title loan. Here are a few to explore if you’re in a tight spot and need the cash.

Alternative payday loans

Alternative payday loans are small loans offered by federal credit unions (not all credit unions are federal). They are similar to securities loans, but do not require collateral. These loans offer small amounts but have more user-friendly repayment terms, such as affordable monthly payments over a few months.

You can borrow between $ 200 and $ 1,000, and federal credit union interest rates are typically capped at 18%. Additionally, credit unions tend to work with borrowers who don’t have a lot of credit to find a solution that’s best for them. However, you must be a member of a credit union to get an alternative payday loan.

Personal loans

Personal loans These are usually unsecured loans that you can take out from a bank, credit union, or online lender. You can use them for almost anything you need and many offer disbursement of funds on the very day of your approval. Even with bad credit, you may be eligible for a personal loan.

While personal loans bear interest, rates typically peak around 36%, significantly lower than those for a title loan. However, you will only receive the maximum rate on a personal loan if your credit is bad or damaged. Borrowers with good credit can benefit from rates below 10%. Finally, the repayment terms vary from two to seven years, which allows you to make affordable monthly payments until your loan is paid off.

Credit card

When you make a request for credit card, you are approved up to a certain credit limit, which you can use as needed. You usually have to pay off your balance every 30 days, and you can reuse your available limit as you pay it off. Any unpaid balance will begin to accumulate interest; however, credit cards have a much lower interest than title loans.

If you can afford to pay off your monthly balance, you are essentially borrowing an interest-free loan. Some cards even offer interest-free funding periods for an extended period, such as the first 12 months of holding your card. Using an offer like this is a convenient way to capitalize on inexpensive financing.

Friends and family

Ask around if you can borrow some money to avoid falling into the title lending trap. Your loved ones are not likely to charge harsh interest rates the same way payday loan companies and property titles are. They are also friendly enough to work on a repayment schedule it’s good for both of you.

However, borrowing money from loved ones can put emotional, and sometimes financial, strain on your relationship. Take this route with caution and have a repayment plan in mind so that everyone is happy with the outcome.

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Te’jun The Texas Cajun brings Cajun cuisine to red oak –

Joe and Tammy Reid set to open second Te’jun the Texas Cajun restaurant, photo by Lydia Baldwin

Upcoming Cajun Seafood / Cuisine at Red Oak Via Te’jun The Texas Cajun

Joe Reid is proof that you can play both ways – Texan and Cajun.

And he has the restaurant – soon to be two restaurants – to prove it.

Reid is the owner of Te’jun the Texas Cajun in Robinson, just outside of Waco. Soon there will be another one of the same in Red Oak. The new restaurant is expected to open in late summer or early fall.

Reid was born in Houston, but grew up in a small town in east-central Texas called Teague. His mother’s family is from the coastal region of the Bolivar peninsula. He spent a lot of time visiting his grandfather, uncle and cousins ​​in Crystal Beach.

His uncle owned a shrimp boat and his grandfather owned a marina. Reid is passionate about fishing, both on coastal and local lakes. His family influence as well as his love for fishing influenced his ultimate interest in seafood and Cajun cuisine.

Construction update on the Red Oak location

The name Te’Jun is a combination of Texas and Cajun.

“We cook Cajun food but with a Texan twist / flair,” he said. “Crayfish was our first menu item, along with corn and potatoes. We pride ourselves on having fresh, high quality seafood. We are trying to provide it conveniently and at a good price.

“In general, our combination plates tend to be the most popular. People usually have a few favorites, which allows them to have more than one article.

Reid was a short-term cook at a truck stop in Dew when he was 13. He worked nights on Fridays and Saturdays. He believes God was preparing him for a restaurant later. It created a desire to feed people and to do it well.

Te’Jun started as a catering trailer in 1997 and has been that way for 20 years. His first experience as a restaurant owner came with the opening of Robinson in 2017.

The Food Trailer merged a passion for seafood with Joe’s family’s need for extra income. Te’Jun was originally only on weekends for part of the year. More money was needed to help make ends meet and to help build a college fund for girls.

More than a meal, an experience

But when you have a hit on your hands, you have to meet the demand of the audience. And that’s what he did – and continues to do.

“We have a very loyal following. We are frequently asked to expand into other markets, ”said Reid. “We try to make a visit to Te’Jun an experience beyond a simple meal. We believe this vision has been translated and people are coming for this experience.

Along with the next Red Oak location, Reid said they will potentially open another restaurant in Fairfield. After all, when you have a dream, you should share it with as many people as possible, Reid believes.

“Te’Jun is a Christ-centered business,” he said. “Te’Jun is truly an ‘American dream’ image.”

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The iconic dome of the Tangier restaurant demolished and dumped in Akron


Akron’s skyline will never be the same again.

Workers have removed the iconic dome atop the restaurant in Tangier as the historic complex prepares for its next chapter.

There will be no salvage of the distinctive blue ornament. The structure was dismantled and thrown into a dumpster.

After:Here’s what the LeBron Foundation is planning for Tangier after the purchase to help the I Promise community

After:LeBron James calls Tangier foundation project “another step in the right direction”

The LeBron James Family Foundation purchased the restaurant at 532 W. Market St. last December with the intention of transforming it into a community retail, dining and event space by 2022.

Founder Edward A. George opened the restaurant in 1954 at 663 E. Exchange St. across from Mason Park in East Akron. Following a devastating fire in 1958, it moved to West Market Street a year later.

After:There is nothing like Tangier. Akron’s lavish monument had humble beginnings before the parade of stars

The famous dome was erected on July 16, 1976, during a $ 5 million expansion project that brought Tangier’s capacity to 2,000.

“It was a big deal when my dad installed it in the 1970s,” longtime owner Ed George, the founder’s son, said on Monday. “God knows what this thing cost. It made us a point of reference, I tell you what.

The 30-foot-high, 3,000-pound fiberglass dome was constructed in 12 sections and assembled on the roof. It was lifted by a crane and bolted to metal I-beams above the main entrance. The summit stood 50 feet above West Market Street.

Akron Tangier's landmark at 532 W. Market St. had a Moroccan theme.  The distinctive blue dome was added during a $ 5 million expansion in 1976.

The vaulted ceiling created the illusion that customers were looking at the dome as they entered the restaurant. A little secret: the hollow dome was at the top of the roof and was not visible from below. In fact, it wasn’t exactly above the lobby.

Akron’s Ernest Alessio Construction Co. oversaw the 1976 expansion project, which included a three-level parking lot for 550 cars, a 7,200 square foot ballroom and the 300-seat Sultan’s Cabaret, a hall Las Vegas-style entertainment.

The dome weighed for 45 years before being dismantled.

“We are moving quickly,” said contractor Dan Beam, owner of Akron’s Beam & Skeans Construction with business partner Matt Skeans. “It was taken apart on Friday and it’s in a dumpster as we speak.”

He had 12 hours to organize the project after receiving a phone call Thursday night from Frank Lucco Co. about an opening on the schedule the next morning following the cancellation of another job.

Beam workers arrived around 6 a.m. and began to tear down the dome. A team from Lucco arrived at 8 a.m. and started dismantling the sections with a crane. The job was finished at 10 a.m.

“We cut it up and smashed it and put it in the dumpster,” Beam said.

The Tangier Dome is in pieces Monday in a large dumpster behind the West Market Street building in Akron.  The fiberglass dome was removed on Friday.

It was sad, he said. The workers wished they could save the dome – one guy even thought it could make a great outdoor bar – but it was just too heavy to salvage.

“You couldn’t move it,” Beam said. “You’d have to take down the power lines and everything. It was just too big.

George said Beam called him and asked if he wanted to take a look.

“Well, I don’t have such a big dog,” George joked. “I can make a niche out of it. What am I going to do with it? “

He had heard a rumor a few months ago that the dome might go on sale, but he doubted it. By the time someone takes it apart, moves it and reassembles it, it would be cheaper to buy a new one, George said.

Tangier continues to host this year receptions and other events reserved before the sale of the building. The final event will be New Years Eve.

The LeBron James Family Foundation is considering renaming the venue House Three Thirty, a reference to the Akron area code. The complex will benefit the families of the I Promise school and the children supported by the foundation.

Renovations continue at the entertainment complex. The minarets at the corners were dismantled and the facade of the building was painted black.

The sign remains in the front for now. But there is no dome.

“Well the place doesn’t even look like Tangier anymore,” said George.

Mark J. Price can be contacted at [email protected]

Tangier's blue dome is no longer part of Akron's skyline.  The 30-foot ornament was removed on Friday.

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Josh Storer fights for his life after Albany bar assault


Josh Storer, was seriously assaulted Friday at The Albany bar and restaurant. Photo / Supplied

A friend of a man fighting for his life in hospital after a serious assault at a bar on the north coast said it was a difficult time for the victim’s family in England.

Josh Storer, 25, was seriously injured Friday night at The Albany bar and restaurant just after 11 p.m. An ambulance intervened and he was taken to hospital in critical condition.

He remains in a coma in an intensive care unit, suffering from a “significant brain injury,” according to a GoFundMe page set up for his family.

“It’s touch and go,” Page said.

A 56-year-old man has been arrested and charged with causing bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, police said.

The Albany Bar and Restaurant on Auckland's North Shore.  Photos / Google
The Albany Bar and Restaurant on Auckland’s North Shore. Photos / Google

A friend of Storer, whom the Herald agreed not to name, said he was a hard worker who enjoyed fishing and going to the pub.

“We are his Kiwi family because he has no family here,” his friend told the Herald.

“He’s a good guy, I guess.

Storer is “very close” to his family and speaks to them on a daily basis, his friend said.

“I can imagine it’s quite difficult for them.

“It’s hard to draw any conclusions about what’s going to happen.

“They must be having a lot of trouble right now.”

Storer’s family were planning to visit New Zealand from England last year before the Covid-19 hit.

They will now try to enter New Zealand to “be there when he wakes up” in the hospital, his friend said.

Two crowdfunding pages were put in place to help Storer’s family cover the costs of traveling to New Zealand to be at his bedside.

Owner of The Albany, Preet Dhaliwal, created a small Giveali page last night for his “local client and good friend”.

Dhaliwal said he would “have a beer” with Storer at least two to three times a week.

“One of our residents was assaulted and we are trying to fundraise for his family to bring his family from England,” he said.

“The costs of thefts and managed isolation are quite high and we try to alleviate the stress on the family as much as possible.

“Pub management and staff assisted the police if necessary and an arrest was made on Saturday evening.”

Meanwhile a GoFundMe page was established in England to cover flights and family accommodation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the cost of Josh Stor's family visiting from England.  Photo / Supplied
A GoFundMe page has been set up to cover the cost of Josh Stor’s family visiting from England. Photo / Supplied

“Josh Storer was involved in an accident yesterday in New Zealand that left him in intensive care with a significant brain injury,” the Page said.

“He is currently on touch and go as he is in a medicated coma and will be for several days monitoring his condition and planning next steps.

“Right now he’s in critical condition and we wanted to let him and his friends know about the situation.”

The page raised over £ 6,200.

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Phase 4 brings radical reopening Wednesday | COVID-19 | Halifax, Nova Scotia


TOp doctor Robert Strang confirmed on Monday that phase 4 of the COVID reopening will begin as scheduled, July 14 at 8 a.m. On Wednesday, Nova Scotians will be allowed to gather in groups of 25 at bars and restaurants, establishments that will be allowed to operate during pre-COVID hours. Dancing in the bar or on a terrace will be welcome, as long as you stay in the group you came with and keep your distance from others. Retail stores and gyms can return to full capacity, and outdoor events can accommodate 250 guests.

Phase 4 also marks the first easing of mask wearing restrictions since its implementation. Masks will no longer be required at outdoor gatherings, such as farmers’ markets or on a playground, even when physical distancing is not possible. Children under 12 will also be free to go without a mask to daycares and camps.

With nightly dining hours, dancing considerations, and masking changes, Phase 4 appears to be the most open in Nova Scotia since the first lockdown in March 2020. The difference between Phase 4 and Phase 5 are unclear, and the final phase is scheduled for September. Province not offering much on what’s to come when it reopens planning site, just that during phase 5, “we start to enter the new normal of life during COVID-19, including the relaxation of public health measures”, although no measures are mentioned. “Additional details on the plan will be released at the start of phase five. ”

While the number of Nova Scotians who receive at least a single dose, according to the province report– has yet to reach 75% of the population, the target required to enter Phase 4, during Monday’s COVID briefing Strang said the milestone has in fact been met. This is largely due to the 8,000 vaccinated military personnel who have not yet been included in the provincial count.

It’s unclear when that number will be reflected in the province’s vaccine report, which currently shows that 73.9% of our population is currently vaccinated. Absorption of the first dose slowed at a tremendous rate in Nova Scotia; At the current rate, it is impossible for the province to reach 75 percent of vaccinated by Wednesday without counting the 8,000 soldiers.

In the last seven days of immunization statistics reported by the province, from Monday July 5 to Sunday July 11, an average of about 1,500 unvaccinated people on average received their first dose of vaccine each day. If 1,500 people get vaccinated for the first time today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday), not counting the Nova Scotia military group would be 74.2% vaccinated on Wednesday morning when phase 4 is due to begin. same with the military cohort of 8,000 people, it will take 1,400 people a day to get vaccinated to be 75 percent vaccinated by 8 am Wednesday.

At the briefing, Premier Iain Rankin and Strang both urged Nova Scotians to reserve any second available dose if they haven’t already. The premier said it appears a number of Nova Scotians are waiting for a dose of Pfizer in favor of Moderna, despite the two mRNA vaccines being considered equivalent.

“We need you to get your second injection… Don’t wait. We don’t have a big shipment of Pfizer coming in, and what we have has to be reserved for 12 to 17 year olds, ”Rankin said. Pfizer is the only vaccine currently approved by the federal regulator for people under 18, and the province expects 150,000 doses on July 25.

Strang said the province has a vaccine supply and delivery capacity to double 75 percent of all Nova Scotians by the end of August, but it is up to individuals to reserve their vaccines earlier . The province has added walk-in vaccination clinics in Dartmouth and Bayers Lake for this week.

“There are more than enough vaccines, more than enough appointments available. Now it’s up to Nova Scotians to decide. We need everyone who can get their first and second dose as soon as possible, ”Strang said.

With one new case today, there are 37 active cases of COVID in Nova Scotia. Of these people, three are hospitalized and two are in intensive care.

Electoral considerations

The prime minister, who has announced more than 30 new funding plans since June 1, declined to say whether the vaccination rate will be factored into the timing of the election call, although it is clearly imminent. Rankin said that once the subpoena is canceled, he will no longer appear alongside Strang during regular COVID briefings.

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Prepare for the summer reopening and resumption


Canadian consumers are ready to continue supporting restaurants, but managing your margins and improving the customer experience are imperative.

By Tom Nightingale

Canadian food services and hospitality are finally on the road to healing the deep wounds of COVID-19. On July 16, indoor restaurants reopen in Ontario for the first time since Easter weekend, a historic summer reopening for an industry devastated by the effects of the pandemic.

Ontario is the latest province to reopen, and as customers begin to familiarize themselves with dining out across the country, operators need to know what they’re thinking and what they want to see in the summer of 2021 .

The group of fifteen, a leading hospitality consulting firm, recently surveyed consumers across Canada to assess how customers currently feel about returning to restaurants as we approach summer.

Customers happy to come back with some assurances

Reduced to the essentials, the investigation found reasons to encourage restaurateurs.

38% of those surveyed said they would look to dine indoors as soon as possible, while 34% said they would consider dining indoors under certain circumstances. Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) suggested they would end up eating in restaurants as much as they did before the pandemic.

David Hopkins, President and CEO of The Fifteen Group, said RestoBiz that his business is “optimistic” for the next six months and beyond.

“Restaurants are probably going to rebound in a big way,” Hopkins said. “We are already starting to see this in some markets. Even in Toronto, where only the patios have been opened to date, the response has been overwhelming. “

It was noted, however, that many consumers would seek certain assurances before returning to dining rooms. For example, as vaccination rates continue to rise, two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said restaurant workers were a crucial factor in their decision to return or not to eat inside. , while a similar number (65 percent) supported vaccine passports for restaurants.

Price increases are a useful strategy

Throughout COVID-19, Hopkins has championed modest price increases to help restaurants mitigate the financial blow from the pandemic. While some restaurateurs may be reluctant to increase the cost to consumers, Hopkins says consumers have already shown they are willing to pay a little more.

“We found that a large number of respondents supported the price increases,” said Hopkins, citing the survey’s finding that 62% of consumers said they would support a menu price increase of 5 % or 10%. That number jumps into the 70 percent range when looking at high income earners. “All of this bodes well for what we have been telling our customers and the market about raising prices, recouping some of the losses and improving industry margins,” Hopkins added.

The desire to support restaurants is still burning

A significant silver lining to the horrors of the past 16 months has been the public’s desire to continue supporting small business. This has been evident across a number of facets, and one of them has been the willingness of consumers to continue ordering from local restaurants (albeit often through different methods) to ensure their community continues to do business.

In The Fifteen Group survey, 28% of consumers ranked the importance of supporting restaurants after COVID-19 as 10 out of 10.

“Basically a year and a half of the general public have heard how the restaurant industry has been affected and they are supportive of it,” notes Hopkins. “Consumers are responding to this: We’ve already had feedback from customers and the market as a whole that people spend well in restaurants and don’t hold back. They are enthusiastic. It seems the average checks are higher and people splurge a bit more. “

Hopkins acknowledges that there is a risk that the spending increase is a short-lived measure, an exuberant response from people who have been “locked in for a while,” as he puts it. But all signs are positive for the future. While there is some hesitation from part of the population – primarily, as expected, the elderly or otherwise at risk – people generally seek out days or evenings, the experience of dining in a restaurant.

“I always feel like we’re going to go back to our old ways pretty quickly,” Hopkins says. “Even give those who are hesitant right now three or four months without hearing about COVID-19 every day in the news and they’ll likely forget about it pretty quickly. Even the most ardent supporters of containment are done with it. There is only a limited time you can keep a very social animal locked up.

Take-out meals to continue to thrive

While these are findings that Hopkins said were visible for some time during the pandemic, the investigation drew a strange surprise.

COVID-19 has seen a huge spike in offsite order adoption and consumption, and that is to be expected. Things were already in fashion before the pandemic, and through COVID-19, it was necessary with the dining rooms closed. Other factors are also at play, including the proliferation of convenient choices for the consumer following a period of rapid technological innovation on the operational side of the industry, during which many restaurants have accepted orders in. online or mobile apps for the very first time.

While Hopkins notes that it is not in itself surprising that delivery and takeout will continue to represent a larger percentage of sales in 2022 than in 2019, he was shocked to find that more than half ( 52%) of those surveyed said they intended to continue ordering. takeaways at the same level as they were during the pandemic, even with the reopening of dining rooms. “I thought it would be like 5%, the size of that proportion surprised me,” he adds.

This can pose a challenge for some establishments, especially high-end restaurants, whose modus operandi revolves around a high-quality menu and a refined customer experience. It’s incredibly difficult to replicate via delivery – food cools or deteriorates in transit and the experience of the dinner value proposition is lost, which can affect a restaurant’s branding and reputation. .

For Hopkins, take-out isn’t necessarily for everyone in the industry.

“We now hear that restaurants have to deliver, that’s the way of the future, but while high-end restaurants could do it if it suits them, they have to. right: make it exactly representative of their brand and their experience. It’ll be a tough decision, but some restaurants can still benefit from recognizing that delivery doesn’t represent them and what they do. “

A new level of customer experience

Ultimately, in a world where parameters have changed, especially when it comes to health, safety and consumer confidence, delivering a high customer experience is more important than ever. Hopkins describes the current climate as a huge opportunity for restaurants to “reset the bar”.

Operators need staff training, need to make sure their menus are 10 out of 10 and that disinfection procedures are all underway, he says. Historically, restaurants have always tried to keep labor costs low. Now, however, the priorities are somewhat different and restaurants must reallocate some of the extra margin from price increases to training and staffing to ensure the customer experience is high.

“Guests are coming back, they are definitely looking for a great experience,” Hopkins sums up. “When you haven’t been to a restaurant for a year and you feel like it, you remember good dining experiences. Can’t remember averages or most crap. This is what restaurants need to create now.

Essentially, the entire customer experience now plays a role in health and safety. A satisfied customer is likely to feel safe and comfortable in a restaurant environment; if the customer experience is poor, they may start to doubt health and safety protocols.

“There is a real direct link between a high customer experience and making the customer feel comfortable with their health and safety proposition in your restaurant,” concludes Hopkins.

This summer is a pivotal moment on the road to recovery. For traders, it’s time to familiarize yourself with current market and consumer demands, and prepare for success.

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Raising the bar: Chef Peter Keith


Chief Keith has tackled the pandemic head-on with his Meuwly’s brand and is working to break down barriers around mental health.

By Tom Nightingale

It’s fair to say that Peter Keith has embarked on the challenges posed by COVID-19. Over the past 15 years, the seasoned restaurateur has excelled in cooking competitions, worked in top Canadian restaurants and co-founded Meuwly’s, an artisanal deli market in Edmonton.

With the onset of COVID-19, however, its priorities have shifted instead. Not only has Meuwly’s – like so many operators over the past 16 months or so – moved to online operations, but Keith has joined with other mental health advocates in moving the conversation forward and trying to break the taboo. surrounding the speaking out on an increasingly vital subject.

Looking to the future, he is encouraged and excited by the resilience and innovation he has seen from the industry throughout the pandemic, as well as the heightened sense of unity and support. of the local community.

CRFN caught up with the Culinary Federationthe National Secretary to discuss his inspiration, the challenges and positives of the pandemic and the direction we can take from here.

* This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was the spark that really ignited your passion for catering?

Peter Keith: What I remember most clearly is watching cooking competition TV shows like “Iron Chef” and “The Next Great Chef” when I was 10 or 11 and feeling really inspired. by the energy of the kitchen and the appearance of unwavering determination the faces of the chefs. I also remember going to a hotel in Jasper and seeing the chefs in their big white hats. It was all very attractive. When I was 14 I had a dishwashing job and as soon as I walked into the restaurant I had a mission: to learn to cook, to climb the ranks, to go to cooking school – to be one of those chefs. . I walked into the kitchens of Culinary School in Edmonton and was exposed to the highest level in the industry when I was 16-17. I worked 30 hours a week in high school out of motivation and passion. It really cemented it for me. I knew it was my way. I was incredibly fortunate to compete in Brazil with Skills Canada and win gold for Canada at the World Skills Americas competition, then represent Alberta at the 2012 Culinary Olympics and get another medal of ‘gold. We were a team of twenty years facing these professional groups from all over the world, it was magical.

What were the first important turning points in your career?

Keith: While working at an upscale restaurant in Vancouver, I began to realize that being online was not a long-term option for me: despite an incredible employer and environment, the physical toll and stress. were exhausting. I realized that I needed something that would fit my life a little better. I came back to Edmonton and got a business degree. It was by chance and eagerness that I met my future business partner, who was looking for a food company to host on their premises. A good friend of mine from a former kitchen job was diving into the world of charcuterie. The three of us sat down and decided to move on with some cold cuts. It was in 2016, and that’s how Meuwly was born.

Deli products have become popular in recent years. Did you see this request from the start?

Keith: It’s been a whirlwind for five years! We got into it, started planning, designing, renovating the space. Building an artisanal, tailor-made and made-to-measure meat processing kitchen is a lot of work and time. As we were building we started to see more demand for local deli, sausage, so we rented a small space and started producing meat for local restaurants. We wanted to do test batches and small runs of new products – that’s how our subscription box was born, from a need to use samples and a desire to stay busy while we built our kitchen and our permanent showcase. Again, there was a fortune: we took to Facebook, within weeks we had local media coverage and finally sold out our packages with a waiting list of around 100 people. We knew we were on to something. From there, we developed these two channels: wholesale boxes and subscriptions.

How has the impact of COVID-19 changed your daily life and that of Meuwly?

Keith: Our greatest immediate concern was the likely loss of $ 10,000 of perishables in our refrigerator with the demise of our retail channels. The only thing we could do was make a basic eCommerce store and make different boxes of groceries. We got to a point where we realized that we were now in the online business. I never would have thought of a deli as a business that could create a meaningful e-commerce experience, but this is where the world is now and what people are looking for. We wanted to become a platform for other small food producers and farmers to fill the void of in-person sales avenues. Customers were looking for comfort food, but as they got used to this new reality I think they started looking to replicate the experiences they were missing. That’s when we started to introduce our do-it-yourself charcuterie kit, the picnic boxes. It’s very experiential now. People recreate restaurant meals in their own homes or in their backyards.

Discussions about mental health within the restaurant and hospitality industry have really gained in importance amid the impact of the pandemic. Do you think this can be a catalyst for real change on this front?

Keith: Mental health has generally been about the don’t ask, don’t tell in foodservice. The ‘harden up’ attitude hurt, I think. When it comes to my employment and support systems, I am one of the lucky ones. But I have seen friends and colleagues struggle – burnout, mental health issues, substance use. I also think mental health awareness, inclusiveness and diversity go hand in hand. In the weeds try to be the voice of these people. When I heard about the start of In The Weeds and the work of Chef Paul Shufelt and the team, I really felt drawn to it. I wanted to contribute to positive and lasting change in the industry. It will be more meaningful than any dish I have ever cooked or any competition I have ever won. After all, I gave up cooking in part because of this stress. We need to end the stigma, get people talking, break this ridiculous facade. The time has come ; people are ready to talk. We want to be a catalyst for change, try to lead from behind and start the conversations. We have organized roundtable type events, fundraising initiatives, funded counseling sessions. I think we are already seeing the first signs of a culture change and COVID-19 has made the need for that change 100% stronger. The pandemic has been a huge benefit, showing that much of our community and our country now views restaurant staff as essential frontline workers. People’s health is really at stake.

The resilience and creativity demonstrated during COVID-19 has been so encouraging to all of us. It’s time for the impossible question: where do we go from here?

Keith: A lot of structural things are starting to change. Most food businesses will have online operations in the future, but more than that, restaurateurs are realizing that it is so important to diversify their business model these days, by finding innovative revenue streams. People have certainly become more creative and resilience is showing through. The first wave of COVID-19 sparked many difficult conversations. It’s cliché but we come out stronger, more diverse, more creative. I think this is the kind of change we needed from the start to be a more resilient business model. There is still work to be done: our company needs to have a truly mature, honest and introspective look at how we interact with restaurants and foodservice. Food is never cheap, so if you get food on the cheap, someone down the line is taken advantage of, be it the farmer, the line cook. It takes an incredible amount of care and work to change that. I hope COVID-19 has started this kind of talk. But for now, we’re just extremely grateful to the Canadians who kept us afloat, ordering an obscene amount of take-out at the expense of their budget and waistline etc. If I ever have grandchildren, this sense of community is something I will share with them about the pandemic. I will remember it all my life. This explains why we all got into this business and what makes our community so great.

Find Peter Keith on LinkedIn here.

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