TIFF 2012: The film fest great for business
If you've tried to grab a table on restaurant row at King and John Sts during the festival, you may have noticed how difficult it's been because they've been at full capacity.
TIFF is like Christmas for many businesses in the area, especially the restaurants feeding all the filmgoers and filmmakers in town.
Here's what some of the businesses in the area had to say today:
Todd Sherman, owner of Hey Lucy and Gabby's bar on King St, says business has been up about 25 per cent this past week. Meanwhile, his Yorkville Hey Lucy location has not seen any increase in business since the festival started. For two years now, all official TIFF events have moved from Yorkville to the King and John Sts area where the TIFF Bell Lightbox stands.
Sherman also says this has been the busiest TIFF for his restaurants. He says he thinks the festival itself is becoming more popular among filmgoers and filmmakers around the world.
I also stopped by Luma restaurant and Canteen cafe, which can be found right inside the Lightbox. Jason Bangerter, the executive chef, says traffic has at least doubled. Canteen cafe has itself served over 1,000 customers a day during TIFF.
So of course the staff has been putting in overtime, but he says they've also brought in a few culinary students to help out. And they've really been thrown into the deep end. "You can just imagine picking someone up and dropping them in the middle of a hurricane, it's pretty crazy." But he says it's been a controlled hurricane.
Head over to one of the nearest hotels, the Ritz Carlton, and you'll notice the same trend. The hotel has been at full capacity this week. Director of sales and marketing, Daniel Newberry, says they've been preparing for this for months. They have extra butlers on staff. They have not only extra sheets, but also special sheets, special matresses, extra wine, extra dry cleaning services. They have extra staff for services like stitching and tailoring.
Newberry says he has realized just how central the King and John Sts area feels these days, with just about anything in walking distance other than retail. He predicts that's next to come for the neighbourhood - a few shops.