Whether you're just getting started or are ready to grow your team, you should find something that meets your needs among this selection of free and low costs events for entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.caand reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up.

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 5 & 19 March 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application."


Me Inc. Workshops
Host: Basin Business Advisors Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Dates & Locations: ​Creston: March 5; Golden: March 6; Castlegar: March 19; New Denver: March 21; Nelson: March 26; Fernie: March 26​
Time: Various
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Have you ever wondered about becoming an entrepreneur? Taking your training or skills to a new level and running your own show? Launching a start-up? Maybe buying a business and running it? The Me Inc. workshop is designed to answer your questions. In just 2 hours we will review critical decision points for making the transition, support resources and other details."


2019 New West Innovation Forum
Host: Public Services and Procurement Canada and the City of New Westminster
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 6 March 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "As a part of Innovation Week 2019, organized by the city of New Westminster, Public Services and Procurement Canada is partnering with the city to present to you the 2019 New West Innovation Forum! The morning will showcase various government support programs that are available to Canadian companies in the R&D and innovation space, and a Keynote speaker will help transition to an afternoon of small group speed Q&A sessions with business experts."


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Date: 6 & 13 March 
Location: Cranbrook
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs."


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 7 & 21 March 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official."


Waterfront Chats: Meetup Presents Showcasing Women in Business
Host: Small Business BC & Meetup
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 7 March 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: Downtown Vancouver
Cost: $10 online, $12 at the door
Register
Summary: "Our Waterfront Chats meetup series is geared at start-up businesses and provides an opportunity to hear from and network with local entrepreneurs and organizations. In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are celebrating successful women entrepreneurs. Hear about their journeys and how they’re pushing the boundaries for women in business."


BC Tech Summit
Host: Government of British Columbia & Innovate BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 11-13 March 2019
Time: Various
Location: Vancouver
Cost: Start up tickets available for $199 (register by 6 March). Full price tickets $999+GST
Register
Summary: "The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, with new realities introduced every day. How will we use emerging technologies - from AI to Robotics, Quantum to Clean-tech, Blockchain to AR/VR – to solve the biggest challenges facing BC and the world today?...Western Canada's largest annual innovation event, the 2019 #BCTECHSummit."


Tax Return Help and Tips for Small Business Owners and Self-Employed Individuals
Host: DIVERSEcity Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 14 March 2019
Time: 1.00 - 3.00pm
Location: Surrey City Central Library
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Liaison Officers from the Canada Revenue Agency will talk about: Small Business and Self-Employment tax deductions; common tax errors; general bookkeeping concepts and best practices; helpful tools and services offered by the CRA."


ThriveNorth Business Planning Workshops
Host: ThriveNorth by Futrepreneur Canada
Target audience: Entrepreneurs 18 - 39 who want to get their business idea off the ground
Date: 19 March 2019
Time: 10.00am - 2.30pm
Location: Smithers
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "ThriveNorth mentors will provide guidance on effectively building and communicating a business plan, improving a launch and leveraging networks of people to further a business. This free crash course is designed to help entrepreneurs create a killer business plan in record time."


Mentor Advisory Forum: From Solopreneur to Boss: Creating Your Processes
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 20 March 2019
Time: 10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "You’ve built your business out of passion and hard work, so you know it inside and out. But how can you boil it down to a set of processes that is easy for a new employee to understand? Join us on March 20 for the first in a two-part teleconference series to help you address the first stages of hiring for your business: creating processes and systems."


Start Up Learning Series: Building a Strong Employee Culture
Host: SFU Venture Labs in partnership with Freedom 55 Financial and Riipen
Target audience: Founders and senior leadership of growing startups with 5+ employees
Date: 20 March 2019
Time: 11.30am - 1.30pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Learn how to take care of your team so they can focus on taking care of your business. How do you attract talent, how do you compensate and perhaps most importantly how do you retain talent once hired?"


Market Research for Your Business
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 21 & 28 March 2019 (sessions can also be bought separately)
Time: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $119+ GST 
Register
Summary: "This package is designed for new and existing business owners who want to develop their business strategy by gathering information about current and potential customers, industry trends and competition."


Techstars Startup Weekend Kelowna
Host: Techstars
Target audience: Entrepreneurs with an idea they have not previously worked on
Date: 22 - 24 March 2019
Location: Kelowna
Cost: $99
Register
Summary: "Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend."


Entrepreneurship Hub Presents: RBC Get Seeded
Host: AMS eHub
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship
Date: 23 March 2019
Time: 6.00 - 9.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "RBC Get Seeded is an event put on by the AMS of UBC's service Entrepreneurship Hub. In conjunction with RBC on campus, we are awarding seed funding to students at the university who have ideas for start-ups or initiatives! 15 teams will compete for the top 8, where the top 8 teams win $500 to jumpstart their idea. The teams are chosen by audience voting through the UBC student venture, HyperVote."


Funding & Support for Startups (Tech Companies)
Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 27 March 2019
Time: 8.30 - 9.30am
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free 
Register
Summary: "There are many funding and support programs and initiatives in Canada that can help startup entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses. Join Alex Goodhew for this one-hour informative session, where she will discuss the programs most relevant to technology companies."


Mentor Advisory Forum: All Systems Grow: Building Your Team
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs who are starting to grow their team
Date: 27 March 2019
Time: 10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "So, you’ve added a new member to your team. Now what? Many business owners have some initial systems in place, but they need some guidance on where to further develop their systems in order to grow. Join us on March 27 to zero in on the areas where you can bulk up your processes and procedures and set yourself up for growth."


e@UBC Innovator Meetup
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBC
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship or involved in a startup
Date: 28 March 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Join us for a casual night of socializing and idea-sharing at our next Innovator Meetup! This meetup will give you a chance to socialize with other innovators, discuss your startup or idea, get support from peers at UBC and learn from experts in the field."

Whether you're just getting started or are ready to grow your team, you should find something that meets your needs among this selection of free and low costs events for entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.caand reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up.

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 5 & 19 March 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application."


Me Inc. Workshops
Host: Basin Business Advisors Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Dates & Locations: ​Creston: March 5; Golden: March 6; Castlegar: March 19; New Denver: March 21; Nelson: March 26; Fernie: March 26​
Time: Various
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Have you ever wondered about becoming an entrepreneur? Taking your training or skills to a new level and running your own show? Launching a start-up? Maybe buying a business and running it? The Me Inc. workshop is designed to answer your questions. In just 2 hours we will review critical decision points for making the transition, support resources and other details."


2019 New West Innovation Forum
Host: Public Services and Procurement Canada and the City of New Westminster
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 6 March 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "As a part of Innovation Week 2019, organized by the city of New Westminster, Public Services and Procurement Canada is partnering with the city to present to you the 2019 New West Innovation Forum! The morning will showcase various government support programs that are available to Canadian companies in the R&D and innovation space, and a Keynote speaker will help transition to an afternoon of small group speed Q&A sessions with business experts."


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Date: 6 & 13 March 
Location: Cranbrook
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs."


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 7 & 21 March 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official."


Waterfront Chats: Meetup Presents Showcasing Women in Business
Host: Small Business BC & Meetup
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 7 March 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: Downtown Vancouver
Cost: $10 online, $12 at the door
Register
Summary: "Our Waterfront Chats meetup series is geared at start-up businesses and provides an opportunity to hear from and network with local entrepreneurs and organizations. In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we are celebrating successful women entrepreneurs. Hear about their journeys and how they’re pushing the boundaries for women in business."


BC Tech Summit
Host: Government of British Columbia & Innovate BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 11-13 March 2019
Time: Various
Location: Vancouver
Cost: Start up tickets available for $199 (register by 6 March). Full price tickets $999+GST
Register
Summary: "The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, with new realities introduced every day. How will we use emerging technologies - from AI to Robotics, Quantum to Clean-tech, Blockchain to AR/VR – to solve the biggest challenges facing BC and the world today?...Western Canada's largest annual innovation event, the 2019 #BCTECHSummit."


Tax Return Help and Tips for Small Business Owners and Self-Employed Individuals
Host: DIVERSEcity Immigrant Entrepreneur Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 14 March 2019
Time: 1.00 - 3.00pm
Location: Surrey City Central Library
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Liaison Officers from the Canada Revenue Agency will talk about: Small Business and Self-Employment tax deductions; common tax errors; general bookkeeping concepts and best practices; helpful tools and services offered by the CRA."


ThriveNorth Business Planning Workshops
Host: ThriveNorth by Futrepreneur Canada
Target audience: Entrepreneurs 18 - 39 who want to get their business idea off the ground
Date: 19 March 2019
Time: 10.00am - 2.30pm
Location: Smithers
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "ThriveNorth mentors will provide guidance on effectively building and communicating a business plan, improving a launch and leveraging networks of people to further a business. This free crash course is designed to help entrepreneurs create a killer business plan in record time."


Mentor Advisory Forum: From Solopreneur to Boss: Creating Your Processes
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 20 March 2019
Time: 10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "You’ve built your business out of passion and hard work, so you know it inside and out. But how can you boil it down to a set of processes that is easy for a new employee to understand? Join us on March 20 for the first in a two-part teleconference series to help you address the first stages of hiring for your business: creating processes and systems."


Start Up Learning Series: Building a Strong Employee Culture
Host: SFU Venture Labs in partnership with Freedom 55 Financial and Riipen
Target audience: Founders and senior leadership of growing startups with 5+ employees
Date: 20 March 2019
Time: 11.30am - 1.30pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Learn how to take care of your team so they can focus on taking care of your business. How do you attract talent, how do you compensate and perhaps most importantly how do you retain talent once hired?"


Market Research for Your Business
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 21 & 28 March 2019 (sessions can also be bought separately)
Time: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $119+ GST 
Register
Summary: "This package is designed for new and existing business owners who want to develop their business strategy by gathering information about current and potential customers, industry trends and competition."


Techstars Startup Weekend Kelowna
Host: Techstars
Target audience: Entrepreneurs with an idea they have not previously worked on
Date: 22 - 24 March 2019
Location: Kelowna
Cost: $99
Register
Summary: "Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend."


Entrepreneurship Hub Presents: RBC Get Seeded
Host: AMS eHub
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship
Date: 23 March 2019
Time: 6.00 - 9.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "RBC Get Seeded is an event put on by the AMS of UBC's service Entrepreneurship Hub. In conjunction with RBC on campus, we are awarding seed funding to students at the university who have ideas for start-ups or initiatives! 15 teams will compete for the top 8, where the top 8 teams win $500 to jumpstart their idea. The teams are chosen by audience voting through the UBC student venture, HyperVote."


Funding & Support for Startups (Tech Companies)
Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 27 March 2019
Time: 8.30 - 9.30am
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free 
Register
Summary: "There are many funding and support programs and initiatives in Canada that can help startup entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses. Join Alex Goodhew for this one-hour informative session, where she will discuss the programs most relevant to technology companies."


Mentor Advisory Forum: All Systems Grow: Building Your Team
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs who are starting to grow their team
Date: 27 March 2019
Time: 10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "So, you’ve added a new member to your team. Now what? Many business owners have some initial systems in place, but they need some guidance on where to further develop their systems in order to grow. Join us on March 27 to zero in on the areas where you can bulk up your processes and procedures and set yourself up for growth."


e@UBC Innovator Meetup
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBC
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship or involved in a startup
Date: 28 March 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: "Join us for a casual night of socializing and idea-sharing at our next Innovator Meetup! This meetup will give you a chance to socialize with other innovators, discuss your startup or idea, get support from peers at UBC and learn from experts in the field."

February is shaping up to be a great month for business events in BC. This is our selection of the best free and low cost events for anyone thinking of starting their own business or who has recently done so. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.ca and reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up.

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Location: 5 & 6 February - Langley; 12 & 19 February - Quesnel; 13 & 20 February - Prince George
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 5 & 19 February 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application.


Me Inc. Workshops
Host: Basin Business Advisors Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Dates & Locations: 5 February - Trail & Invermere; 12 February - Revelstoke; 26 February - Cranbrook
Time: Various
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Have you ever wondered about becoming an entrepreneur? Taking your training or skills to a new level and running your own show? Launching a start-up? Maybe buying a business and running it? The Me Inc. workshop is designed to answer your questions. In just 2 hours we will review critical decision points for making the transition, support resources and other details.


Vancouver Small Business Information Expo
Host: Office of Small and Medium Enterprises - Pacific Region
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 6 February 2019
Time: 8.30 am - 3.30pm
Location: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Vancouver
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: The 2019 Vancouver SBIE will feature face-to-face opportunities to interact with experts from over 50 support programs who provide valuable resources to small businesses. 


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 7 & 21 February 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official.


Startup Basics: Social Media for Startups
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 12 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Getting the word out about your company to potential customers can be difficult and costly when you’re first starting your business. While the services are technically free, social media can be confusing, time-consuming and difficult to manage. In this workshop, you will identify which social media platforms work for you and your business, and best practices for each.


TANDEM x VANTEC Monthly Financials for Startups
Host: Tandem Innovation Group (in partnership with VANTECH and SFU Venture Labs)
Target audience: Entrepreneurs that have started their business, have a scalable business model and are looking to raise capital
Date: 13 February 2019
Time: 3.00 - 5.00pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: $15 - $25
Register
Summary: TANDEM is excited to team up with VANTEC and SFU Venture Labs to help entrepreneurs raising capital get their back-of-house investor ready. These monthly sessions will be led by Tandem Advisors that will guide each participant to be Deal Room ready.


Funding & Support for Startups (Tech Companies)
Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 20 February 2019
Time: 8.30 - 9.30am
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free 
Register
Summary: There are many funding and support programs and initiatives in Canada that can help startup entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses. Join AO's Community Manager Alex Reid for this one-hour informative session, where she will discuss the programs most relevant to technology companies.


Startup Basics: Lessons Learned
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 26 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn from those who have come before you. Join us for a candid talk with a panel of diverse entrepreneurs and startup owners as they share tips and tricks, struggles and highlights of starting and growing a company in Kamloops.


Start Smart Series
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 20 February 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $49+ GST 
Register
Summary: The Start Smart Series provides a step-by-step guide to starting your business right. This series includes two seminars where five industry experts provide their knowledge and tips to help you start your business smart. Learning Objectives: learn what resources will help you get started; understand the registration process; know what business structure to use and the guidelines of protecting your business.


Entrepreneurship Basics Workshop: Customer Discovery & Presentation Skills
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBCO
Target audience: UBC Okanagan Students
Date: 12 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: This workshop will explain how to figure out who your customer is, how to ask your customer what the problem is that needs solving and then how to align your innovation around that problem. Once you have a handle on the customers’ pain points you can create new products from your innovation that no competitor has ever thought off. From there you can develop a well thought out business model that includes realistic financial projections, a sound risk management strategy and attractive investor pitch to bring in capital to grow your business.


Digital Marketing Social Breakfast Vancouver
Host: Hootsuite
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 26 February 2019
Time: 8.00am - 11.15am
Location: Van City Theatre
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: In this data-packed session, you'll hear from Hootsuite experts as we present the findings of our global study of 230 countries and territories internet, social, mobile, and e-commerce consumer behaviors. Plus, you'll also get strategy guidance from Simon Kemp, a world-recognized expert on digital. Simon's current and past clients include Unilever, Coca-Cola, Google, Nestlé, and Diageo. He'll share what the world's most valuable brands are focusing on and give an insider tour of the future forces changing how brands and consumers connect on digital.


Innovator Meetup
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBC
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship or involved in a startup
Date: 28 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join us for a casual night of socializing and idea-sharing at our next Innovator Meetup! This meetup will give you a chance to socialize with other innovators, discuss your startup or idea, get support from peers at UBC and learn from experts in the field.


 

Events

February is shaping up to be a great month for business events in BC. This is our selection of the best free and low cost events for anyone thinking of starting their own business or who has recently done so. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.ca and reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up.

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Location: 5 & 6 February - Langley; 12 & 19 February - Quesnel; 13 & 20 February - Prince George
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 5 & 19 February 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application.


Me Inc. Workshops
Host: Basin Business Advisors Program
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Dates & Locations: 5 February - Trail & Invermere; 12 February - Revelstoke; 26 February - Cranbrook
Time: Various
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Have you ever wondered about becoming an entrepreneur? Taking your training or skills to a new level and running your own show? Launching a start-up? Maybe buying a business and running it? The Me Inc. workshop is designed to answer your questions. In just 2 hours we will review critical decision points for making the transition, support resources and other details.


Vancouver Small Business Information Expo
Host: Office of Small and Medium Enterprises - Pacific Region
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 6 February 2019
Time: 8.30 am - 3.30pm
Location: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Vancouver
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: The 2019 Vancouver SBIE will feature face-to-face opportunities to interact with experts from over 50 support programs who provide valuable resources to small businesses. 


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 7 & 21 February 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official.


Startup Basics: Social Media for Startups
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 12 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Getting the word out about your company to potential customers can be difficult and costly when you’re first starting your business. While the services are technically free, social media can be confusing, time-consuming and difficult to manage. In this workshop, you will identify which social media platforms work for you and your business, and best practices for each.


TANDEM x VANTEC Monthly Financials for Startups
Host: Tandem Innovation Group (in partnership with VANTECH and SFU Venture Labs)
Target audience: Entrepreneurs that have started their business, have a scalable business model and are looking to raise capital
Date: 13 February 2019
Time: 3.00 - 5.00pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: $15 - $25
Register
Summary: TANDEM is excited to team up with VANTEC and SFU Venture Labs to help entrepreneurs raising capital get their back-of-house investor ready. These monthly sessions will be led by Tandem Advisors that will guide each participant to be Deal Room ready.


Funding & Support for Startups (Tech Companies)
Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 20 February 2019
Time: 8.30 - 9.30am
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free 
Register
Summary: There are many funding and support programs and initiatives in Canada that can help startup entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses. Join AO's Community Manager Alex Reid for this one-hour informative session, where she will discuss the programs most relevant to technology companies.


Startup Basics: Lessons Learned
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 26 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn from those who have come before you. Join us for a candid talk with a panel of diverse entrepreneurs and startup owners as they share tips and tricks, struggles and highlights of starting and growing a company in Kamloops.


Start Smart Series
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 20 February 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $49+ GST 
Register
Summary: The Start Smart Series provides a step-by-step guide to starting your business right. This series includes two seminars where five industry experts provide their knowledge and tips to help you start your business smart. Learning Objectives: learn what resources will help you get started; understand the registration process; know what business structure to use and the guidelines of protecting your business.


Entrepreneurship Basics Workshop: Customer Discovery & Presentation Skills
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBCO
Target audience: UBC Okanagan Students
Date: 12 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: Kelowna
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: This workshop will explain how to figure out who your customer is, how to ask your customer what the problem is that needs solving and then how to align your innovation around that problem. Once you have a handle on the customers’ pain points you can create new products from your innovation that no competitor has ever thought off. From there you can develop a well thought out business model that includes realistic financial projections, a sound risk management strategy and attractive investor pitch to bring in capital to grow your business.


Digital Marketing Social Breakfast Vancouver
Host: Hootsuite
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 26 February 2019
Time: 8.00am - 11.15am
Location: Van City Theatre
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: In this data-packed session, you'll hear from Hootsuite experts as we present the findings of our global study of 230 countries and territories internet, social, mobile, and e-commerce consumer behaviors. Plus, you'll also get strategy guidance from Simon Kemp, a world-recognized expert on digital. Simon's current and past clients include Unilever, Coca-Cola, Google, Nestlé, and Diageo. He'll share what the world's most valuable brands are focusing on and give an insider tour of the future forces changing how brands and consumers connect on digital.


Innovator Meetup
Host: Entrepreneurship@UBC
Target audience: UBC Students interested in entrepreneurship or involved in a startup
Date: 28 February 2019
Time: 5.00 - 7.00pm
Location: UBC Vancouver Campus
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join us for a casual night of socializing and idea-sharing at our next Innovator Meetup! This meetup will give you a chance to socialize with other innovators, discuss your startup or idea, get support from peers at UBC and learn from experts in the field.


 

Events

Starting a small business is challenging and there is so much information out there it can be difficult to know where to start. These are our pick of key BC websites and organizations that provide the best tools, resources and events for entrepreneurs. All of our choices are deliberately budget friendly and the majority of them are free. 


1. Small Business BC offer a broad range of seminars covering all the practicalities of starting and running your own business. Some events are free and most cost from $49 - $119. They also have an excellent blog and resources centre. 


2. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada provide a host of services and information about setting up a business in Canada, including grants and financing, business structure, permits, regulations and much more. They also provide step-by-step guides for certain industries. 

  • Don’t miss: Starting a business, the steps to consider before operating a business in Canada

3. Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) offers financing solutions for entrepreneurs for projects and working capital. Even if you don’t need them for financing the free tools and resources on their website are great for business planning. 


4. The Small Business Accelerator - that’s us! - assists with secondary market research by offering curated access to credible information vetted by business librarians for entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses across BC. The site includes a Business Basics section, which has links to free and low cost resources such as business plan templates. The SBA also features more than 100 industry market research guides, offering step-by-step research tips. We are also available to provide email reference support and referrals to UBC services.


5. Futurpreneur Canada provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. 


6. Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization created to help BC women launch, lead and scale their own businesses. They offer a variety of resources, training and advice as well as business loans.

  • Don’t miss: twice monthly phone in sessions for Business Loans Information and Starting a Business Information 

7. entrepreneurship@UBC provide incubator and accelerator programs for UBC-related startups*, they also host workshops and events and can provide general advice on how to get your venture started. 

  • Don’t miss: sign up to their monthly newsletter to make sure you never miss a thing!

*“UBC-related” means at least one of the founders of the startup must be a UBC student, faculty, staff, or recent alumna/alumnus (up to 5 years from graduation).”
 

Key Resources Series

Starting a small business is challenging and there is so much information out there it can be difficult to know where to start. These are our pick of key BC websites and organizations that provide the best tools, resources and events for entrepreneurs. All of our choices are deliberately budget friendly and the majority of them are free. 


1. Small Business BC offer a broad range of seminars covering all the practicalities of starting and running your own business. Some events are free and most cost from $49 - $119. They also have an excellent blog and resources centre. 


2. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada provide a host of services and information about setting up a business in Canada, including grants and financing, business structure, permits, regulations and much more. They also provide step-by-step guides for certain industries. 

  • Don’t miss: Starting a business, the steps to consider before operating a business in Canada

3. Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) offers financing solutions for entrepreneurs for projects and working capital. Even if you don’t need them for financing the free tools and resources on their website are great for business planning. 


4. The Small Business Accelerator - that’s us! - assists with secondary market research by offering curated access to credible information vetted by business librarians for entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses across BC. The site includes a Business Basics section, which has links to free and low cost resources such as business plan templates. The SBA also features more than 100 industry market research guides, offering step-by-step research tips. We are also available to provide email reference support and referrals to UBC services.


5. Futurpreneur Canada provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. 


6. Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization created to help BC women launch, lead and scale their own businesses. They offer a variety of resources, training and advice as well as business loans.

  • Don’t miss: twice monthly phone in sessions for Business Loans Information and Starting a Business Information 

7. entrepreneurship@UBC provide incubator and accelerator programs for UBC-related startups*, they also host workshops and events and can provide general advice on how to get your venture started. 

  • Don’t miss: sign up to their monthly newsletter to make sure you never miss a thing!

*“UBC-related” means at least one of the founders of the startup must be a UBC student, faculty, staff, or recent alumna/alumnus (up to 5 years from graduation).”
 

Key Resources Series

Happy New Year! If you are committed to getting your small business flourishing in 2019, this is a selection of free and low cost events happening in BC may be able to help you reach your goals. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.ca and reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 8 & 22 January 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application.


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 10 & 24 January 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official.


Startup Basics: Resources for Startups
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 11 January 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: For many entrepreneurs and startup-curious talking with Kamloops Innovation and TRU Generator is the first step on their startup journey. This session will provide you with an overview of the tools, resources, mentorship, workshops, events, and support available to you through Kamloops Innovation, the TRU Generator, and other organizations in our network.


Business Focus
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: Various dates from 15 January - 22 February 2019
Time: Varies
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $419+ GST for the full program, or purchase individual seminars from $69
Register
Summary: This nine seminar program focuses on teaching you how to turn a good business idea into a successful business venture. Learn about the most important operational areas for new businesses and how to evaluate them across 30+ hours of education, delivered by industry experts. Seminars cover business viability, planning, market research, operations, marketing and more. Each seminar can also be booked individually.


TANDEM x VANTEC Monthly Financials for Startups
Host: Tandem Innovation Group (in partnership with VANTECH and SFU Venture Labs)
Target audience: Entrepreneurs that have started their business, have a scalable business model and are looking to raise capital
Date: 16 January 2019
Time: 3.00 - 5.00pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: $15 - $25
Register
Summary: TANDEM is excited to team up with VANTEC and SFU Venture Labs to help entrepreneurs raising capital get their back-of-house investor ready. These monthly sessions will be led by Tandem Advisors that will guide each participant to be Deal Room ready.


Employment Contracts 101: Tips for Business Owners
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 23 January 2019
Time:10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Business is booming and it’s time to get some help… but should you hire an employee or a contractor? What are the pros and cons of each that you should consider before you start? How you hire someone can be as important as who you hire. We’ve partnered with two HR professionals who will dispel some myths and outline the legalities of employment contracts, so you can avoid hiring pitfalls, stay on CRA’s good side and start your new work relationship on the right foot.


Navigating the Statistics Canada Website
Host: Statistics Canada
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 23 January (French) & 24 January (English)
Time: 1.00 - 2.00pm
Location: Online
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: This webinar will provide you with a tour of our website, assist you with searching the data holdings and show you how to locate and download data with ease.


Start Smart 
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 23 January 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $49+ GST 
Register
Summary: The Start Smart Series provides a step-by-step guide to starting your business right. This series includes two seminars where five industry experts provide their knowledge and tips to help you start your business smart.


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Date: 30 January, 6 February (online session) &13 February 2019
Time: From 5.30pm
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Events

Happy New Year! If you are committed to getting your small business flourishing in 2019, this is a selection of free and low cost events happening in BC may be able to help you reach your goals. 

We also recommend visiting smallbusinessbc.ca and reviewing their full event calendar and seminar line up

Please note details are accurate at time of publication, all summaries have been reproduced from host descriptions.


How to Apply for a Business Loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre 
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 8 & 22 January 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Learn how to apply for a loan from Women’s Enterprise Centre. In this FREE session, the facilitator will review our lending criteria, answer your questions, advise you on how to apply and provide you with a resource package. At the end of the session, your Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and ensure that you receive an application.


Starting a Business Information Session
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 10 & 24 January 2019
Time: 12.00 – 1.00pm
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Free phone-in for those thinking of starting a business.The session is broken into 2 parts. In Part 1, we explain how to write an effective business plan. We cover each section of the business plan and provide strategies and resources to ensure your plan is well organized and consistent. In Part 2 we uncover how to make your business official.


Startup Basics: Resources for Startups
Host: Kamloops Innovation
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 11 January 2019
Time: 5.00 - 6.00pm
Location: Kamloops
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: For many entrepreneurs and startup-curious talking with Kamloops Innovation and TRU Generator is the first step on their startup journey. This session will provide you with an overview of the tools, resources, mentorship, workshops, events, and support available to you through Kamloops Innovation, the TRU Generator, and other organizations in our network.


Business Focus
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: Various dates from 15 January - 22 February 2019
Time: Varies
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $419+ GST for the full program, or purchase individual seminars from $69
Register
Summary: This nine seminar program focuses on teaching you how to turn a good business idea into a successful business venture. Learn about the most important operational areas for new businesses and how to evaluate them across 30+ hours of education, delivered by industry experts. Seminars cover business viability, planning, market research, operations, marketing and more. Each seminar can also be booked individually.


TANDEM x VANTEC Monthly Financials for Startups
Host: Tandem Innovation Group (in partnership with VANTECH and SFU Venture Labs)
Target audience: Entrepreneurs that have started their business, have a scalable business model and are looking to raise capital
Date: 16 January 2019
Time: 3.00 - 5.00pm
Location: Vancouver
Cost: $15 - $25
Register
Summary: TANDEM is excited to team up with VANTEC and SFU Venture Labs to help entrepreneurs raising capital get their back-of-house investor ready. These monthly sessions will be led by Tandem Advisors that will guide each participant to be Deal Room ready.


Employment Contracts 101: Tips for Business Owners
Host: Women’s Enterprise Centre
Target audience: Female entrepreneurs
Date: 23 January 2019
Time:10.00 – 11.00am
Location: Phone in session
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Business is booming and it’s time to get some help… but should you hire an employee or a contractor? What are the pros and cons of each that you should consider before you start? How you hire someone can be as important as who you hire. We’ve partnered with two HR professionals who will dispel some myths and outline the legalities of employment contracts, so you can avoid hiring pitfalls, stay on CRA’s good side and start your new work relationship on the right foot.


Navigating the Statistics Canada Website
Host: Statistics Canada
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 23 January (French) & 24 January (English)
Time: 1.00 - 2.00pm
Location: Online
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: This webinar will provide you with a tour of our website, assist you with searching the data holdings and show you how to locate and download data with ease.


Start Smart 
Host: Small Business BC
Target audience: Anyone can attend
Date: 23 January 2019
Time: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Location: Online webinar or Small Business BC Office Vancouver
Cost: $49+ GST 
Register
Summary: The Start Smart Series provides a step-by-step guide to starting your business right. This series includes two seminars where five industry experts provide their knowledge and tips to help you start your business smart.


Rock my Business Plan - workshop series
Host: Futurepreneur Canada
Target audience: Aspiring business owners aged 18-39 who have recently launched a business or could be ready within the next few months
Date: 30 January, 6 February (online session) &13 February 2019
Time: From 5.30pm
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Cost: Free
Register
Summary: Join the next wave of entrepreneurs from your local area at the free Rock My Business Plan workshop series! Learn the steps to get your business plan started, confidently talk about your business idea and connect you to a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Events

This industry overview includes the latest statistics and trends for both full service and limited service restaurants. 

  • Full service restaurants, providing food services to patrons who order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service) and pay after eating. 
  • Limited service restaurants, which are primarily engaged in providing food services (except snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars) where patrons order and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer's location.  These are also known as fast-service or fast-food restaurants.

For more specific information about researching the restaurant industry, please see our Restaurant Industry Guide

For information about related industries please see our industry guides for Catering, Bakery, Coffee Shop, Bar & Nightclub, Specialty Foods, Street Food Vendor.  


Content


Industry Status

Industry phase: Mature            

Concentration: Low            

Competition: High

Regulation: Medium-High

Barriers to entry: Medium


BC Industry performance snapshot

Sales

  • As of September 2018, BC food services and drinking place sales totalled $1,038,023,000 (Statistics Canada)
  • Sales were up in every province in the third quarter of 2018, with the largest gains in dollar terms in British Columbia, +8.0%. (Statistics Canada)
  • Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 4.4% year over year in the third quarter. (Statistics Canada) 

Source: Statistics Canada Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)

Source: Statistics Canada Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)


Positive industry indicators

Consumer spending power 

The restaurant industry is affected by disposable income, consumer confidence and levels of unemployment. 

  • Per capita disposable income is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 2.7% over the next five years, enabling a greater number of Canadian consumers to eat out at industry establishments. 
  • Full service restaurants are also going to be boosted by an anticipated increase in corporate profit and subsequent increase in client entertainment spending. 
  • Consumer spending is projected to continue growing at a steady rate over the five years to 2022, driven by relatively low unemployment and high levels of disposable income. 
  • Strong growth in the number of households earning more than $100,000 per year will lead to greater spending in the industry's high-end segments. 

(Sayler, 2018)

Demand for convenience

Recent social trends, such as busier lifestyles, heavier workloads and longer working hours, have helped boost demand for restaurant services and convenience food, as time-poor consumers look to cut down on cooking times and make better use of their spare time. 

Demographic changes 

The changing age structure of the population influences industry demand. Two broad demographic trends have encouraged industry growth over the past decade. (Sayler, 2018)

  • The baby-boomer generation has access to higher disposable incomes than previous generations, meaning they are more likely to spend on eating out. 
  • Young adults aged between 18 and 30 are delaying marriage and having children later; this enables young consumers to spend a greater proportion of their income on dining out. This millennial age bracket is spending a higher proportion of their food budget eating out than any other age bracket, making them a key target market and driver of change. 

National Growth

Both full and limited service industries have seen moderate growth over the past five years, with growth also predicted for the next five, albeit at a slower rate. 

  • Growth rate - revenue:
Full service     
2013 - 2018 4.1%  
2018 - 2023 2.1%  

 

Limited service   
2012 - 2017 4.5%
2017 - 2022 2.2%

 

  • Growth rate – number of transactions 

Industry consumption volume increased with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.8% between 2013 and 2017, to reach a total of 5.7 billion transactions in 2017. The industry's volume is expected to rise to 6.3 billion transactions by the end of 2022, representing a CAGR of 1.9% for the 2017-2022 period. (Marketline, 2018)

  • Growth rate – market value 

In 2017 the Canadian foodservice industry had total revenues of $54.3 billion. By 2022, this is forecast to rise to $63.3 billion, maintaining the same compound annual growth rate as the 2013 - 2017 period of 3.1%. (Marketline, 2018)


Industry challenges

Profit margins under pressure

Profit margins within the industry are generally narrow, and are under increasing pressure from rising food and labour prices. On average limited service restaurants fare better with a profit of 10.4% in 2018 (Sayler, 2018), compared to that of the full service industry at 3.2% in 2017. (Sayler, 2017) 

In 2016 Statistics Canada report that 71.1%% of all restaurants with annual revenue up to $5m are profitable. (Statistics Canada)

Barriers to success

While barriers to entry into the industry are relatively low, barriers to success (i.e. the ability to stay profitable and in operation for more than a few initial years) are relatively high. According to industry sources, about 60.0% of new full service restaurants close or change hands within three years of opening. (Sayler, 2017)


Key success factors 

Whole Industry Full Service Limited Service
  • Access to multiskilled and flexible workforce
  • Having a clear market position
  • Effective cost controls    
  • Proximity to key markets
  • Ensuring pricing policy is appropriate 
  • Business expertise of operators
  • Market research and understanding
  • Ability to franchise operations

Costs

Limited Service Industry (Sayler, 2018)

Graph of fast food restaurant industry costs
 

Full Service Industry (Sayler, 2017)
 


Employment numbers

Reflecting the low concentration within this industry, the vast majority of both full service (92%) and limited service restaurants (95%) in British Columbia have fewer than 49 employees.

Source: Statistics Canada Table  33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018 and Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018  


Trends & changes

Healthy choices

Consumers are increasingly health conscious and searching for businesses that reflect those values. Many limited service restaurants have taken advantage of this trend by shifting menus away from fatty and fried foods to focus on quality products and nutritional value. Full-service restaurants are also adapting to this trend, but higher prices still keep them out of some consumers’ reach. 

Ethical considerations

Consumers are increasingly concerned about what they consume and where their food comes from, resulting in a rising demand for locally sourced, cruelty-free options as well as vegan and vegetarian menus. There are indicators this is fueling a move away from red meat towards poultry and seafood options. 

Off-premise and third party delivery

Third party delivery services have opened up the possibility of a much broader range of restaurants offering delivery. The convenience factor of these products is also proving popular, particularly with millennial consumers. There is speculation this could lead to the rise of the “ghost kitchen” which offers a delivery only service and no physical front of house offering (Phelps, 2018).  

The rise of fast casual

The lines between fast food and full service restaurants are increasingly blurring, leading to the rise of the “fast casual” or “fine-casual” restaurant. These offer a hybrid of the full service and fast food industries, typically combining rapid service with higher quality items, at a lower price than traditional full service dining options. Sales at major US fast-casual chains grew by about 11% in 2015, compared to 5.5% for limited-service establishments and less than 5% for all restaurants (First Research, 2018).

Selling an experience

Due to the high level of substitutes (eating at home, competitor restaurants, food trucks and alternative leisure activities) some restaurants are focusing on marketing the full experience of the meal in order to attract customers and/or increase price points. 

Staff shortages in British Columbia

Of the 2.5 million British Columbians who make up the workforce today, 174,200, or 7.3%, people are directly employed in the restaurant industry. Over the next ten years, BC is looking at a skilled labour shortage of more than 514,000 workers, the result of several factors including demographic shift, low unemployment, skill shortage and kitchen culture.  (BCRFA, 2018)

Technology

The industry is highly dependent on direct labour input across all areas of operation and many of these functions cannot be substituted by technology or machinery. That said, technology can be used to improve internal business processes. 
The most popular current applications are point-of-sale, time and attendance (for employees), customer traffic counter and in-store back office systems, as well as debit and credit card programs, labour scheduling, labour productivity analysis, inventory management, e-mail, food production and kitchen scheduling. (Sayler, 2018)


Bibliography

BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (2018). Metro Vancouver Restaurant Labour Shortage: Report & Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.bcrfa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Final-Report-Labour-Shor...

First Research (2018). Restaurants, bars & food services - quarterly update 6/25/2018.  Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Collection; Business Premium Collection 

Lalley, H. (2018). 10 Trends Emerging from Top Growth Chains. Restaurant Business 117(7) pp.41-62

MarketLine (2018). Foodservice in Canada (MarketLine Industry Report). 

Saylor, B (2017). Full-Service Restaurants in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72211CA). IBISWorld Inc. 

Saylor, B (2018). Fast-Food Restaurants in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72211aCA). IBISWorld Inc.  

Phelps, R (2018) Ghost restaurants set to disrupt traditional eatery industry. Financial Post Retrieved from https://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/ghost-restaurants-set-to...

Statistics Canada (2018) , Food services and drinking places, September 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181122/dq181122c-eng.htm

Technomic (2018) Consumers increasingly making food choices based on personal definition of health. Retrieved from https://www.technomic.com/newsroom/consumers-increasingly-making-food-ch...
 

Industry Trends

This industry overview includes the latest statistics and trends for both full service and limited service restaurants. 

  • Full service restaurants, providing food services to patrons who order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service) and pay after eating. 
  • Limited service restaurants, which are primarily engaged in providing food services (except snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars) where patrons order and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer's location.  These are also known as fast-service or fast-food restaurants.

For more specific information about researching the restaurant industry, please see our Restaurant Industry Guide

For information about related industries please see our industry guides for Catering, Bakery, Coffee Shop, Bar & Nightclub, Specialty Foods, Street Food Vendor.  


Content


Industry Status

Industry phase: Mature            

Concentration: Low            

Competition: High

Regulation: Medium-High

Barriers to entry: Medium


BC Industry performance snapshot

Sales

  • As of September 2018, BC food services and drinking place sales totalled $1,038,023,000 (Statistics Canada)
  • Sales were up in every province in the third quarter of 2018, with the largest gains in dollar terms in British Columbia, +8.0%. (Statistics Canada)
  • Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 4.4% year over year in the third quarter. (Statistics Canada) 

Source: Statistics Canada Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)

Source: Statistics Canada Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)


Positive industry indicators

Consumer spending power 

The restaurant industry is affected by disposable income, consumer confidence and levels of unemployment. 

  • Per capita disposable income is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 2.7% over the next five years, enabling a greater number of Canadian consumers to eat out at industry establishments. 
  • Full service restaurants are also going to be boosted by an anticipated increase in corporate profit and subsequent increase in client entertainment spending. 
  • Consumer spending is projected to continue growing at a steady rate over the five years to 2022, driven by relatively low unemployment and high levels of disposable income. 
  • Strong growth in the number of households earning more than $100,000 per year will lead to greater spending in the industry's high-end segments. 

(Sayler, 2018)

Demand for convenience

Recent social trends, such as busier lifestyles, heavier workloads and longer working hours, have helped boost demand for restaurant services and convenience food, as time-poor consumers look to cut down on cooking times and make better use of their spare time. 

Demographic changes 

The changing age structure of the population influences industry demand. Two broad demographic trends have encouraged industry growth over the past decade. (Sayler, 2018)

  • The baby-boomer generation has access to higher disposable incomes than previous generations, meaning they are more likely to spend on eating out. 
  • Young adults aged between 18 and 30 are delaying marriage and having children later; this enables young consumers to spend a greater proportion of their income on dining out. This millennial age bracket is spending a higher proportion of their food budget eating out than any other age bracket, making them a key target market and driver of change. 

National Growth

Both full and limited service industries have seen moderate growth over the past five years, with growth also predicted for the next five, albeit at a slower rate. 

  • Growth rate - revenue:
Full service     
2013 - 2018 4.1%  
2018 - 2023 2.1%  

 

Limited service   
2012 - 2017 4.5%
2017 - 2022 2.2%

 

  • Growth rate – number of transactions 

Industry consumption volume increased with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.8% between 2013 and 2017, to reach a total of 5.7 billion transactions in 2017. The industry's volume is expected to rise to 6.3 billion transactions by the end of 2022, representing a CAGR of 1.9% for the 2017-2022 period. (Marketline, 2018)

  • Growth rate – market value 

In 2017 the Canadian foodservice industry had total revenues of $54.3 billion. By 2022, this is forecast to rise to $63.3 billion, maintaining the same compound annual growth rate as the 2013 - 2017 period of 3.1%. (Marketline, 2018)


Industry challenges

Profit margins under pressure

Profit margins within the industry are generally narrow, and are under increasing pressure from rising food and labour prices. On average limited service restaurants fare better with a profit of 10.4% in 2018 (Sayler, 2018), compared to that of the full service industry at 3.2% in 2017. (Sayler, 2017) 

In 2016 Statistics Canada report that 71.1%% of all restaurants with annual revenue up to $5m are profitable. (Statistics Canada)

Barriers to success

While barriers to entry into the industry are relatively low, barriers to success (i.e. the ability to stay profitable and in operation for more than a few initial years) are relatively high. According to industry sources, about 60.0% of new full service restaurants close or change hands within three years of opening. (Sayler, 2017)


Key success factors 

Whole Industry Full Service Limited Service
  • Access to multiskilled and flexible workforce
  • Having a clear market position
  • Effective cost controls    
  • Proximity to key markets
  • Ensuring pricing policy is appropriate 
  • Business expertise of operators
  • Market research and understanding
  • Ability to franchise operations

Costs

Limited Service Industry (Sayler, 2018)

Graph of fast food restaurant industry costs
 

Full Service Industry (Sayler, 2017)
 


Employment numbers

Reflecting the low concentration within this industry, the vast majority of both full service (92%) and limited service restaurants (95%) in British Columbia have fewer than 49 employees.

Source: Statistics Canada Table  33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018 and Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018  


Trends & changes

Healthy choices

Consumers are increasingly health conscious and searching for businesses that reflect those values. Many limited service restaurants have taken advantage of this trend by shifting menus away from fatty and fried foods to focus on quality products and nutritional value. Full-service restaurants are also adapting to this trend, but higher prices still keep them out of some consumers’ reach. 

Ethical considerations

Consumers are increasingly concerned about what they consume and where their food comes from, resulting in a rising demand for locally sourced, cruelty-free options as well as vegan and vegetarian menus. There are indicators this is fueling a move away from red meat towards poultry and seafood options. 

Off-premise and third party delivery

Third party delivery services have opened up the possibility of a much broader range of restaurants offering delivery. The convenience factor of these products is also proving popular, particularly with millennial consumers. There is speculation this could lead to the rise of the “ghost kitchen” which offers a delivery only service and no physical front of house offering (Phelps, 2018).  

The rise of fast casual

The lines between fast food and full service restaurants are increasingly blurring, leading to the rise of the “fast casual” or “fine-casual” restaurant. These offer a hybrid of the full service and fast food industries, typically combining rapid service with higher quality items, at a lower price than traditional full service dining options. Sales at major US fast-casual chains grew by about 11% in 2015, compared to 5.5% for limited-service establishments and less than 5% for all restaurants (First Research, 2018).

Selling an experience

Due to the high level of substitutes (eating at home, competitor restaurants, food trucks and alternative leisure activities) some restaurants are focusing on marketing the full experience of the meal in order to attract customers and/or increase price points. 

Staff shortages in British Columbia

Of the 2.5 million British Columbians who make up the workforce today, 174,200, or 7.3%, people are directly employed in the restaurant industry. Over the next ten years, BC is looking at a skilled labour shortage of more than 514,000 workers, the result of several factors including demographic shift, low unemployment, skill shortage and kitchen culture.  (BCRFA, 2018)

Technology

The industry is highly dependent on direct labour input across all areas of operation and many of these functions cannot be substituted by technology or machinery. That said, technology can be used to improve internal business processes. 
The most popular current applications are point-of-sale, time and attendance (for employees), customer traffic counter and in-store back office systems, as well as debit and credit card programs, labour scheduling, labour productivity analysis, inventory management, e-mail, food production and kitchen scheduling. (Sayler, 2018)


Bibliography

BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (2018). Metro Vancouver Restaurant Labour Shortage: Report & Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.bcrfa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Final-Report-Labour-Shor...

First Research (2018). Restaurants, bars & food services - quarterly update 6/25/2018.  Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Collection; Business Premium Collection 

Lalley, H. (2018). 10 Trends Emerging from Top Growth Chains. Restaurant Business 117(7) pp.41-62

MarketLine (2018). Foodservice in Canada (MarketLine Industry Report). 

Saylor, B (2017). Full-Service Restaurants in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72211CA). IBISWorld Inc. 

Saylor, B (2018). Fast-Food Restaurants in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72211aCA). IBISWorld Inc.  

Phelps, R (2018) Ghost restaurants set to disrupt traditional eatery industry. Financial Post Retrieved from https://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/ghost-restaurants-set-to...

Statistics Canada (2018) , Food services and drinking places, September 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181122/dq181122c-eng.htm

Technomic (2018) Consumers increasingly making food choices based on personal definition of health. Retrieved from https://www.technomic.com/newsroom/consumers-increasingly-making-food-ch...
 

Industry Trends

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