Toronto restaurant says it's raising prices after switching back to paying full rent


A Toronto restaurant Drom Taberna just announced they're raising prices now that they've had to pay their rent for the month in full. 

Owner Shamez Amlani says he's always wanted the restaurant to be a "cheap and cheerful" place with flat menu prices that include tax but that's no longer going to happen.

They had already paid their rent for September before the federal government announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program would be extended for one month.

With a rent of $28,000 a month and operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 regulations, Drom Taberna announced tax will now be added on top of the menu price, meaning the cost of food will rise by about 13 per cent.

It's still possible that Drom Taberna might be able to get rent relief retroactively for September but prices are going up either way. The restaurant is a bar and live music venue at heart and has struggled to turn a profit with the new food-centric focus.

Amlani's restaurants Drom Taberna and La Palette have made pivot after pivot to survive. La Palette is now a restaurant inside a wine shop with Amlani's wife serving as kitchen manager, and Drom Taberna has become an Eastern European deli selling sausages, beer and vodka.

Convenient chalkboard menus are the one thing remaining, and Amlani says the life of the restaurants as bottle shops has actually brought in "new faces."

Along with their adaptability, Amlani says the restaurant wouldn't have been able to survive if he had to pay himself as an owner and without the government rent relief.