Vancouver News | Local Breaking | CTV News Vancouver
Restaurants hiking prices for the 2010 Games
Some Vancouver restaurants are raising their prices during the two weeks of the 2010 Games, a CTV News investigation has found.
At Bean around the World in Yaletown, regular visitors were being offered a customer card they were told would help them avoid higher prices during the Olympics.
When an undercover CTV secret shopper asked about the card, he was told by a staff member prices on products would rise "probably 20 or 50 cents."
"We just know the prices are going up," the staff member said.
CTV's Chris Olsen watched as a customer in front of him was told the exact same thing -- prices were going to be higher for Olympics visitors. The card would get locals a regular price.
"I just think that gouging people for a two week event is just wrong," the customer, Peter Jansen, said.
"You'll get way more by being nice to people than you will by gouging people."
The Olympic effect is showing up on other menus around the city.
At Burgoo restaurant on Main Street, the menu now reads "February table guests may be subject to a 10 per cent Winter Games service charge."
CTV was told the policy is directed at people from countries that don't normally add tips to bills.
The BC Restaurant Association has been telling its members not to raise prices for the Games because regulars won't like it.
"The restaurants want to be here for their domestic market because when the Olympics are gone we still have our domestic customers to care of," President Ian Tostenson said.
He says having a two price system for locals and visitors isn't good for the city.
"We don't need that reputation in Vancouver."
But some restaurant prices are rising to pay for increased costs and services.
At the Cactus Club's three downtown Vancouver locations only, prices are going up by three per cent on average. The hike will pay for an enclosed patio, more TVs, DJ's to entertain customers and the cost of early morning deliveries mandated by Games security, said restaurant president Richard Jaffray.
"I don't think that this three percent increase is going to recover all our additional costs so we're hoping the business makes up for it," he said.
"So I understand people's concern with that but I think it's fair and it keeps everyone in check frankly."
Cactus Club has not ruled out an automatic gratuity for those unaccustomed to Canadian tipping customs.
"In the downtown location it is something we are considering but if we did implement it we would simply make it optional that someone could opt out of," Jaffray said.
CTV News contacted Bean around the World's head office and told them what it's investigation had found.
After it's own internal investigation, the company now says the cards are so locals can bypass expected long food line ups for the Olympics. They added that coffee prices -- which were increased by five per cent in December -- will not be going up again for the Games.
Watch CTV News at Six for the full report from Chris Olsen