An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS has got to be one of the toughest lines of work to get into, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any easier.
They seem to be dropping like flies — Milestones, Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s. They’ve all closed their Kamloops doors just in the last couple of months or so, along with the Teenie Bikini Bistro (if that one counts) and Storms, which has just announced it’s shut down but looking for a new location.
People like newness in restaurants. They’ll flock to a place that’s new, has good food and preferably a view. When it starts to get old, they move on.
So what’s really happening? There’s speculation that taxation is influencing the decision of restaurant entrepreneurs to close up shop but I suspect there’s more to it than that.
For one thing, drive-thru establishments are renovating or building new, and expanding their menus, providing attractive options for this impatient world in which we live.
And then, along come the delivery services — Skip the Dishes, Door Dash, Uber Eats, GrubHub. Suddenly, having a meal delivered to your doorstep is all the rage.
These services simply pick up restaurant food and drive it to you. They market themselves as “partners” that expand restaurant business but in the long run they keep customers at home instead of at restaurants. Who needs a server when you can hole up at home instead?
Restaurants are an important part of our lifestyle, and the variety of them is an indicator of the vibrancy of a community. Without sounding like a shill for the restaurant industry, I suggest there’s something to be said for ignoring the drive-thru, skipping the delivery service, and going out for a nice restaurant meal once in awhile.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.