Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Increased appetite for high-end eateries fuels expansion

Jump in full-service restaurant sales coincides with drop in B.C. restaurant menu prices
Glowbal Group owner Emad Yacoub plans to open several new restaurants, including a large Glowbal restaurant at Telus Garden and two more Trattorias

Full-service restaurants' success at nibbling market share away from pubs has encouraged industry veterans to plan a number of new and expanded higher-end eateries.

The plans are proceeding as B.C. diners enjoy the only menu price deflation in Canada – thanks to the removal of the HST.

Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CFRA) data shows that menu prices in B.C. in December 2013 were 2.6% less than a year earlier. Menu prices in all other provinces rose, with the average increase being 1.5%.

Increased spending is fuelling profits.

B.C.'s full-service restaurants enjoyed a 7.7% revenue rise in 2013 – significantly more than the 4.8% jump nationwide. Those sales came at the expense of pubs, which had sales fall 4.6% last year. Canada-wide, pub sales inched up 0.6%.

"If you look at the number of fine dining restaurants relative to the population base, we're not overserviced," British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) CEO Ian Tostenson told Business in Vancouver.

Veteran restaurant owner Umberto Menghi has applied to the City of Vancouver to reopen his iconic Il Giardino restaurant half a block from the location where it operated for 37 years before closing last summer.

The BC Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee told BIV that he hopes permits are approved this month so he can proceed with a firm offer to take space at 1328 Hornby Street from Glowbal Group owner Emad Yacoub, whose IK2GO fast-casual Italian food bistro currently occupies the location.

Yacoub has plenty more on his plate, operating eight other restaurants and planning openings for a handful more.

Glowbal Group's next launch is set to be its second Trattoria restaurant at Park Royal in West Vancouver in spring. The 5,000-square-foot space will include a rooftop patio.

A 7,000-square-foot Trattoria restaurant would then open by year's end in a new Bosa Properties tower across from Metrotown in Burnaby.

Once those are open, Yacoub will have more time to plan three eateries in the future Telus Garden office tower.

The biggest of those will be a 15,000-square-foot Glowbal restaurant opening in 2015.

The tower's other Yacoub-owned eateries will be a 40-seat, yet-to-be-named oyster bar and cocktail lounge and Nosh, which will be a casual café.

Other bullish restaurateurs include Chambar owners Niko and Karri Schuermans, who will close their 562 Beatty Street eatery this summer and move next door to a 10,000-square-foot facility that is twice their current space.

Flying Pig owners John Crook and Erik Heck are also bullish about Vancouver's high-end dining scene.

That duo opened a 60-seat bistro at 1168 Hamilton Street in June 2011 and six months later knocked down a wall and assumed the lease of a former hair salon to expand their restaurant with another 40 seats.

They have since opened a second Flying Pig, a 160-seat restaurant in Gastown, and plan to open another in the Olympic Village later this year. •