Bad for business

A mounted police officer rides past the restaurant "Fred's Not Here" in Toronto. Owner Fred Luk complains the restaurant has been empty leading up to the G20. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

By Fred Luk, G20 citizen blogger

Fred-52.jpgFrom the business standpoint, it is becoming clearer that there are winners and losers in this Toronto G20 summit.

So far the clear winners are the hotels and Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Tourism Toronto is reporting that this summit generated $53 million in hotel room sales and the provincially owned convention centre is also racking up huge revenues from this summit.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the clear losers are the small and family-run businesses located within the security zones of this summit.

Restaurants on King Street West that stayed open during this summit week are reporting on average a 60 per cent drop in business during the first three days of this week. These restaurants include Penelope, Dazzling, Hey Lucy's, Kit Kat, N'Awlins, Aroma, Ultimate Café, Dhaba, Urban, Saint Tropez, Marcel's Bistro, Joe Mamas, La Fenice, Fred's Not Here, The Red Tomato, Forget About It, Paese, Z-Teca and Verona.

My restaurant colleagues and I were naive enough to believe that the thousands of police officers and security personnel that are staying in nearby hotels would bring in some business to our restaurants.

We just found out yesterday that a caterer was hired to feed this large contingent of police within the CBC centre. Beverage and snack carts are delivering meals to the officers within the summit's security zones.

As I walked through the underground pathway below the major bank towers, I saw a much smaller office lunch crowd. Businesses located within these buildings have sent their workers to their satellite offices located outside the downtown area. Many told their employees to work from home.

I believe that by Thursday and Friday there will be next to no one left, as many if not all of the bank branches are closing their doors.

Countless retail business like hair salons, dry cleaners, food vendors, optical stores etc., are also clear losers in this summit.

Related: Meet the team