Butters

Kelowna restaurateur Rod Butters was among those raising concerns about the industry's fate in light of shutdowns ordered as a result of COVID-19 in a late March video on the website OneTable.ca Now, the restaurant assocation is developing a plan for the possible resumption of dine-in service next month.

Two Kelowna restaurateurs are among those nationwide calling for more government help to get them through the financial crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Operators of the Train Station Pub and Raudz Regional Table and Raudz Restaurant Group are among those who describe how the pandemic has affected their business on OneTable.ca, a new website launched by the restaurant industry.

“We’ve currently lost 70 team members who are passionate about what they do. We need to get them back to work as soon as possible,” says David Lindsay of the Train Station Pub.

“I worry about our head server, Mike, who’s been with us for 19 years. I worry about our manager who just bought a house. What are these people going to do? What are we going to do?” says Rod Butters of Raudz Restaurant Group.

Butters’ partner, Audrey Surrao, says: “Our financial resources and savings are being depleted.”

Other restaurant owners say their family-owned businesses, perhaps unlike large restaurant chains, won’t survive the severe economic downtown unless greater financial aid is forthcoming.

The new site provides links to government programs aimed at helping businesses through the economic crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

It also provides information about how restaurant owners should navigate the staff layoffs and closures caused by the public health orders that have effectively closed most restaurants, except for some curbside pickup and home delivery options.

Raudz Restaurant Group has closed its establishments. The Train Station Pub remains open Wednesday through Saturday, 5-9 p.m., for take-out orders.

The new website is also intended to provide a way for everyone in the restaurant industry to say how their livelihoods have been affected by the closure orders.

“If you own a small restaurant, a franchise, if you are a chef, bartender, server, line cook, dishwasher, or a hostess, we urge you to share your story and make your voice heard. Post your videos and use the hashtag #OneTable.”

The site asks the government for “immediate relief, immediate protection, and help to reopen and rehire.”