Delta businesses have been dealing with a flurry of interest since B.C. health officials dropped COVID restrictions last week on indoor gatherings such as weddings and special events.
“The phones are ringing off the hook with new event inquiries,” said Sue Carlile, general manager of Tsawwassen Springs, which features a ballroom, Pat Quinn’s Restaurant and an 18-hole golf course. “People are anxious to book their events that have been postponed for two years. Our spring and summer are already quite busy with events in the ballroom.”
Russell Pohl’s Mr. Mom’s World Catering oversees operations and bookings at East Delta Hall. The historic Ladner Trunk Road venue has been under repair since a water pipe break back in December resulted in some significant damage. It will be bustling when it re-opens.
“Once we get totally re-opened, which I would say would be mid-May, from that point on we around 85 percent booked,” said Pohl. “Our inbox has been inundated. I would say we’re already 10 to 15 percent booked for next year alone.”
Over the past 24 months, Pohl pivoted his business to create programs featuring his Ukrainian specialty foods. It’s become so popular that he plans on continuing the sales in some form even when the hall is buzzing with events again.
“We're extremely blessed that we had the opportunity to be able to do that. Many caterers didn't have that option,” continued Pohl. “This may seem really corny and all that kind of stuff, but we built a lot of projects. For instance, our (mobile) meal program, then we did more wholesale things. I think we're going to keep the majority of those programs because we feel extremely blessed by the community that continued to support us.”
As full capacity events are being rapidly booked, the scramble is on to find more employees. It’s no easy task when many left the industry two years ago.
“Yes we anticipate the hiring process to be quite challenging with the labor shortage,” added Carlile. “We are presently training new culinary staff and will be hiring and training staff for our ballroom events.”