Business leaders collaborate on Picnics and Patios promotion to support Victoria restaurant industry

What’s better than enjoying a sumptuous meal on a South Vancouver Island summer night? A local celebrity picking up your bill.

Man eating pizza at an outdoor eatery in Victoria BC
Photo by Kiera Dorman.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Victoria Business Association, Destination Greater Victoria, City of Victoria, B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association – Victoria Chapter have joined forces on a promotion aimed at stimulating the Greater Victoria restaurant industry.

They’ve garnered sponsor support from Vancity (Vancouver City Savings Credit Union) for Picnics and Patios, which runs June 8-30.

Representatives from the participating organizations will visit restaurants across the region on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the first-ever Picnics and Patios contest. Whenever possible, a local celebrity will be part of the visit to share the excitement and select a lucky diner.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate emerging from the pandemic than getting outside and enjoying a patio,” says City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “Restaurateurs go into business, in part, because they want to serve people. So let’s all give them customers to serve and enjoy great food and drinks while we do it. My thanks to all the partners who’ve come together so creatively to support the region’s business sector.”

Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, is betting diners will participate for the chance to “enjoy that euphoric moment when someone else says, ‘we’ll pick up the tab this time.’ A contest such as Picnics and Patios is great way to encourage dining on nights of the week people might not otherwise consider.”

Peter de Bruyn, Chair of the B.C. Restaurant Food Services Association – Victoria Chapter says its important to promote dining right now because though “we have seen strong community support for our sector on weekends, we are still seeing some empty tables midweek. With revenue down, a promotion like Picnics and Patios makes a difference to our members’ bottom line at a time when it is certainly needed.”

Downtown businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. “We need to support them through the last bit of the pandemic,” says Jeff Bray, Executive Director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. “There are so many great dining options in the core of our city. We need to help these businesses at a time when many did not generate significant revenue in the past few months.”

Destination Greater Victoria’s CEO Paul Nursey notes that with travel to and from Vancouver Island allowed beginning June 15 if case count trends and vaccination rates continue, this kind of marketing campaign is an essential part of putting the city back on the map. “We want to welcome people back with open arms. Part of this is promoting our culinary and hospitality sectors that do so much to attract people to our wonderful region.”

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