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Restaurant tents an example of teamwork, cooperation and innovation

'I can't take credit for all of this, it is just a lot of people were there to say, 'Burgerworld is a good thing and what can we do to help'"
20200826 burgerworld hammond
Dan Rivet inside his unique Burgerworld tent covered patio. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

Patios have become a popular destination for many area residents who have felt compelled to eat out at a restaurant once again. 

However, not every restaurant is equipped with a patio.

That includes Dan Rivet, the owner of Burgerworld on Hammond Street near the Northgate Shopping Centre in North Bay.  

When Rivet found out that patios were allowed to open he was stumped.

His location had no patio, and to build one would mean taking away vital parking for his business and would likely cost as much as $40,000 to build.  

He reached out to Mayor Al McDonald and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli for advice. 

"How do I do this," Rivet asked.  

"I just can't afford to build a patio here and take it down because I know once COVID-19 is over there is no way I am going to get away with this." 

Rivet did some brainstorming and with the help of some other local businesses.

The longtime restaurant owner came up with a solution. Build his own Burgerworld tent city on his parking lot.   

"Tents, why can't I put a tent up?" Rivet recalls thinking. 

Once he spoke to government officials and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, it was clear that he was going to be able to do it after city council waived fees for outdoor patios this summer due to COVID-19.  

"This was the beauty about the federal, provincial and municipal governments, they were all on board trying to find whatever they could do to help us get back to as normal as we could," said Rivet.  

"The Health Unit as well was a huge help." 

McDonald recalls the situation with council back in early June. 

"I will say within days after that announcement by the province, we had adjusted our guidelines and council unanimously approved it in a special meeting we called," said McDonald.  

"So we were able to make those changes within two or three days of the province making the changes and I think that really demonstrates council's commitment to local businesses."

See related: City waives patio fees for local businesses

Rivet says the Burgerworld tents have been a hit and he credits a multitude of local businesses who helped make his new tent adventure a reality including All-Shelter for providing the tents and BlackTop for helping move his handicapped parking spots.    

"I was surrounded by a lot of great people, I can't take credit for all of this, it is just a lot of people were there to say, 'Burgerworld is a good thing and what can we do to help,'" said Rivet.  

Weather has been good to patio business everywhere in the North Bay area but Rivet expects to close down the majority of his outdoor tables after the Labour Day weekend. He hopes to open more tables inside his restaurant while still adhering to the restaurant capacity rules.  

"People have loved it, I have had people shake my hands to thank me for coming out and doing this and taking a chance because this is a huge cost. This is not a cheap venture and I really took a gamble on this and I think it paid off."