Locals can rejoice, as longtime local online food delivery service Whistler Dine In is reopening with new owners later this fall.
On Oct. 9, Whistler Dine In founder and owner Jean-Francois Giasson announced that the service would close its doors after 12 years in the resort, citing burnout due to persistent labour shortages.
“After 12 years of operations, we knew it was time for us to move on, but we also knew closing the service entirely was going to leave a hole in Whistler, creating an impact on the restaurants, drivers and, of course, all of our beloved locals,” Giasson said in a release.
Fortunately, new owners Avi Lugassy and his business partner Mike Moisson have decided to take on the business and keep it going, with a tentative re-opening date set for later this fall.
“When I saw the comments of it closing, I immediately wrote and said, ‘Hey, is this up for sale? Would you like someone to continue the legacy?’” Lugassy said. “We eventually came to an agreement, and here we are.”
Lugassy has experience in the food and beverage industry as the current owner of Soupa Cafe, a popular soup and sandwich restaurant in downtown Victoria.
With their previous experience in the food business, Lugassy believes the new ownership team can continue to build on the company’s solid foundations and improve efficiencies to make the Dine In experience smoother and more enjoyable for all.
“We’re in the food business, so I know what delivery can do for the food industry because we have first-hand experience through COVID, and all of the changes that happened in the food industry—how technology allowed us to continue operating, and how the landscape changed because of COVID,” he said.
“That’s why I’m so excited to bring this to Whistler in a way that will help make it easier for the drivers and the customers, and it should certainly be easier for the restaurants.”
In addition to running Soupa Cafe, Lugassy is also a programmer, and you may even be familiar with his work: he helped create the contact-tracing app used by the Gibbons Group during the height of the pandemic.
Lugassy plans to use his programming knowledge to make the route driving and food ordering experience more efficient, moving the Dine In system to a more automated process.
“What that automation will do will allow restaurants to quickly receive the orders, which will allow restaurants to quickly give the relevant information to the delivery platform as to how long the order is going to take to get ready,” Lugassy said.
The ongoing labour shortage in Whistler is hitting many businesses hard, and food delivery is no exception. During the pandemic, Whistler Dine In struggled to find staff as demand for food delivery soared. The previous owners worked 270 days straight without a day off during the pandemic, resulting in burnout.
Lugassy believes that, while the labour shortage will likely continue to be a problem, efficiencies found through planning and programming will improve the system and save time, allowing drivers to take on more orders.
“While staffing is absolutely going to be a problem, because we do have a labour shortage in Canada, I think that efficiencies in the system can surely help at least some of the problems,” he said. “By reducing times, it’s going to allow added orders even with fewer drivers.”
Those interested in working for the company are encouraged to submit their applications at whistlerdinein.com.