Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Swiss Chalet Returns to Winnipeg
Update October 26. Swiss Chalet is now open
Swiss Chalet is a large Canadian restaurant chain founded in Toronto in 1954. The store is ubiquitous in Ontario along with its sister restaurant Harvey's, a hamburger joint.
Just over 12 years ago, Swiss Chalet and Harvey's retreated from the scene in Winnipeg save for an express location at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport for both restaurants. That location is slated to close when airport functions shift to the new terminal. There doesn't seem to be a plan to open the concept when the move happens.
I have pointed out in this blog that development agencies should be looking for shops and restaurants that draw people. I am not sure why Swiss Chalet withdrew from the Winnipeg market years ago. Their location on Pembina Highway seemed to be well used. I can't say the same about their Harvey's location on the same street or the Home Depot locations. The restaurant chain never seemed to catch on in Manitoba.
The Yes! Winnipeg agency is taking credit for the $1.6 million Swiss Chalet restaurant coming to the city at the Kenaston Common location near Costco. The restaurant will employ about 80 people. Further city locations are hinted at.
The Yes agency has been around for three months and is taking credit for about there or four companies finding contacts, financing and the like to open in the city or expand operations. While some of the initial announcements are good, a really big fish is still to be caught. After a year, it will be interesting to see if a $50 to $100 million initiative lands in the city. Too often we have lost some of these projects to other cities.
I should point out that the worst meal I have had in the last several years was a Swiss Chalet dinner at the Toronto airport. Other family members says they weren't impressed by a mean at Swiss Chalet at Winnipeg's airport. I certainly hope that a full scale restaurant proves to be a more satisfactory food choice for people in the Kenaston area.
It would appear the restaurant opening at Kenaston Common will fill the last available space in that area. All eyes now turn to the Ikea site.