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These two Burnaby restaurants saw a profit turnaround but one of them may still close

It's been four months since this restaurant was given a three-month extension.
Swiss Chalet in Burnaby is known for its roasted chicken dinners. The restaurant chain has closed many of its Metro Vancouver and B.C. locations in recent years.

COVID-19 hit restaurants really hard, with pandemic closures and restrictions added to people’s general fear about dining out during various points of the past two years.

Some Burnaby restaurants didn’t survive, with such closures as Zeus and Chez Meme on Hastings in the Heights dealing blows to the local restaurant scene.

But things appear to be turning around. There has been a flurry of new restaurant openings in the past few months, with more on the way, including a new Chicko Chicken and a bb.q both on Hastings in the Heights.

Another restaurant company has seen its fortunes turnaround in Burnaby.

Recipe Unlimited Corp., which operates the Keg and Swiss Chalet in Burnaby, is reporting a 62-per-cent increase in net profits during the last quarter. The restaurant company said it earned $21.1 million, compared with $13 million a year earlier.

The increase in profits, despite skyrocketing food costs, bodes well, but it still might not be enough to save the Swiss Chalet on Lougheed Highway in Burnaby.

The Swiss Chalet was actually set to close in December 2021, with staff saying their goodbyes to customers leading up to Christmas. But then, suddenly, Recipe Unlimited told the NOW that the Swiss Chalet would stay open for a minimum of three months. Four months later, it’s still in business, but for how long is unclear as Recipe Unlimited has closed all the other Swiss Chalets in B.C. The company also sold off its Milestones brand.  

Recipe had 1,251 restaurants at the end of the quarter, down from 1,330 last year. However, it plans to add 30 new locations in 2022 and renovate 40 existing restaurants.

"I am proud of the resilience of our franchise partners and all of our front-line teammates, who once again did a remarkable job managing through a difficult environment," stated CEO Frank Hennessey in a news release.

"The Omicron variant forced the closure of dining rooms and reduced capacity for 61 per cent of our Operating weeks in Q1. Despite these restrictions, system sales increased 34 per cent as our teams welcomed guests back to our restaurants with strong sales in March as restrictions eased."

  • Additional reporting by the Canadian Press