In Global News’ two-part series, find out how Calgary’s restaurant scene is changing. Read Part 2 here.
A Calgary pub is going for a rock-bottom price as the city’s restaurant and pub scene is experiencing what some are calling an industry shift.
Bushmills Irish Pub in southeast Calgary is a 4,800-square-foot building with custom wood, stained glass windows and a full kitchen.
“It cost $1.6 million to build,” local restaurant realtor Gord Hyland said. “I have it listed right now for $195,000.”
Hyland has sold 450 eateries in his last 35 years in business and said the city’s struggling economy is making it hard on small business owners — some of whom decide to sell.
His website, Restaurants4sale.ca, has pages upon pages of restaurants, pubs and other eateries listed.
Hyland said the industry is facing some major changes and pub and restaurant owners are facing more challenges every year, like higher wages, property tax hikes and increased costs for things like food, beverages and utilities. In some cases that’s lead to shrinking profits.
“Small business people like this are getting the squeeze play.”
Calgary’s chamber of commerce agreed many small and medium-sized businesses are having trouble balancing their books.
Chamber president and CEO Sandip Lalli said something has to give.
“Your corporate taxes, your property taxes, carbon tax, health and safety — this is very burdensome for businesses.”
The group which represents Calgary’s business community said it’s gotten to a point where many don’t want to close up shop but are forced to because they can no longer provide a valuable service. It’s calling on all level of governments to give more clarity to businesses when it comes to taxes and added operating costs.
Like many across Canada and elsewhere, Calgary’s restaurants and pubs are also seeing a profit loss from food delivery services like SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats.
Establishments do get the benefit of having to prepare the food, but they miss out on the tips and the liquor profits that come with dining in.
Hyland said Bushmills can still have a successful future — it just needs the right owner.
The long-time realtor doesn’t expect the economic situation to get much better heading into the new year, but he doesn’t believe the challenges the industry is facing are insurmountable.
“Where there’s adversity there’s opportunity.”