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Restaurants, hotels look for low-season boost from Dine Around and Stay in Town

Dine Around and Stay in Town runs until Feb. 6. During the annual promotion, restaurants and hotels offer deals on meals and rooms.
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Ciara Curran, front house manager at Frankie's Modern Diner on Government Street, which is taking part in the Dine Around and Stay in Town promotion for the first time. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Restaurants and hotels participating in the annual Dine Around and Stay in Town promotion for the capital region’s hospitality sector are offering some “screaming good deals,” says Destination Greater Victoria’s chief executive.

The event started Thursday and runs through Feb. 6.

The popular promotion, launched about 15 years ago, aims to attract customers during a quiet time of year for restaurants and hotels.

It is especially important these days given the battering the sector has taken from the pandemic.

About 50 restaurants and 12 hotels are taking part, similar to other years.

Restaurants are putting on three-course meals with options costing from $20 to $60 for set menus. Diners can visit a restaurant or order takeout food directly.

Hotel daily rates range from $129 to $249.

This is the first year that Frankie’s Modern Diner, 910 Government St., has participated in Dine Around. “We see this as a wonderful marketing opportunity,” said general manager Lee Tanner.

Frankie’s is offering two Dine Around menus, at $30 and $40, featuring customer favourites. Anyone wanting takeout can call directly to the restaurant.

For locals and visitors who take part, “it is a great way to support our hotel and restaurant members as we build back our industry and prepare ourselves for what is anticipated to be a strong spring and summer for the Greater Victoria visitor economy,” said Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, an organizing partner of Dine Around.

“Last year, Dine Around was enormously successful. It really hit the mark. The restaurants were very busy so we’re hoping for something similar again this year.”

Chefs use the opportunity to try out new culinary ideas and innovations before the traditional busy season, Nursey said. The event also brings in revenue during an off-peak time.

Research last year confirmed that Victoria has the most restaurants per capita in Canada, he said.

“We are really grateful for the rich amenity that is our culinary scene and we want to keep it going.”

Last year delivered a “pretty decent hospitality year” between June and until just prior to Christmas, when the Omicron COVID-19 variant arrived, he said.

Nursey hopes that Dine Around and Stay in Town will kickstart the sector and deliver momentum as spring and summer approach.

For the Dine Around promotion to work financially for restaurants, they must plan ahead and work with their supply chains, local growers and producers, Nursey said.

Restaurant managers have said that they generally acquire new customers as a result of Dine Around when people sample their place for the first time and a percentage will return, he said.

”That is really important to them strategically.”

“Restaurants can’t just rely on regulars. They need to expand their customer base at all times.”

For more information, go to the Tourism Victoria website at tourismvictoria.com/eat-drink/dine-around.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com