The pandemic may not be officially over, but it’s certainly time for the industry to start its ascent back from the devastation that has been wreaked on what was once a dynamic and vibrant industry. With the holidays around the corner, there’s a feeling of optimism in the air, as vaccine passports become a way of life and Canada’s vaccination rate continues to climb — two realities that give us increased confidence.
As we turn the page on another year, one that has been equally as challenging as 2020, we take some solace that the worst is hopefully behind us. And, therefore, there’s no time like the present to start taking those first tentative steps on the road to recovery.
We’d be naïve to think it will be a smooth journey back. It will take months for employees to return to their regular work hours and perhaps even longer before consumers feel totally comfortable returning to on-premise dining. But the good news is that a May 2021 survey by Restaurants Canada found that 89 per cent of Canadians are looking forward to going out to a restaurant with friends and family when the pandemic is over.
Though the industry had experienced one of its best periods leading into the pandemic, experts expect it may take several more years before the industry bounces back to pre-COVID levels. And, even then, the landscape might look markedly different from the one we left behind in March 2020 when COVID first reared its ugly head. The good news is that once COVID is done with us, the pent-up demand for restaurant dining will be quite remarkable.
For now, the team at Kostuch Media is thrilled to welcome the industry back to its first large event in two years — our annual Pinnacle Awards celebration. And while there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate in the past 21 months, the fact the industry was able to weather the storm is a remarkable feat of endurance that can’t be ignored.
Many of this year’s winners aptly demonstrate that even with the constraints of one of the worst periods in our recent history, so many individuals and companies were able to soldier on and manage to achieve incredible results, pulling deep within their reserves to emerge stronger. As we raise a glass to all of this year’s winners, let’s not lose sight that this is a resilient industry and one whose passion and love of people will propel it forward — even if it may take a little longer than we expect.
On behalf of the entire KML team, we wish our readers and advertisers alike the best of the holiday season, and as always, a touch of magic. Now, more than ever, we can certainly use it.