THE ADVOCATE 525
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
In 2015 we hired a new executive chef, and in 2016 we changed our
management team. Since then we have undertaken significant renovations,
including to the level four and level five entrances, we have
installed new window treatments, wallpaper and flooring. There have also
been less obvious upgrades, including a new point-of-sale system, a commercial
grade espresso and cappuccino machine, and significant upgrades
to our Internet connectivity and sound system to allow live streaming of
webinars. The majority of these improvements were funded through a
generous round of donations from law firms and individual practitioners
in 2015 which are memorialized in plaques at the 4th floor entrance.
Importantly, however, the more recent improvements have been funded
through our own operations. This is a testament to our management team,
who work tirelessly to make the Inn a desired venue and certainly one
that is on par with the finest in the city.
The Inn is currently on a solid financial foundation. In 2018 our sales
were just under $750,000, last year we increased that figure to just over
$860,000 and as of the end of 2019 our bank account balance stood at just
over $297,000. Of course, these are challenging times for any restaurant,
and none more so than for the Law Courts Inn. While approximately fortyfive
per cent of the events we host relate to law, most of our revenue to fund
operations comes from commercial functions and weddings. Apart from the
closure of the courthouse itself to the general public due to COVID-19, the
limit on crowd sizes is likely to endure for some time to come, further
impacting our revenues beyond any limited restaurant opening.
Despite these hardships, we were well positioned to weather the storm.
Going into the COVID-19 shutdown, our bank balance was just over
$323,000 and, fortunately, we had not yet committed ourselves to the next
planned major upgrade: replacing our restaurant chairs. While we employ
12 people on a full-time basis (and another 25 casual employees), we have
been able to furlough most of our staff, make a successful demand for coverage
under our business interruption insurance and limit monthly expenditures
to rent and other utilities. Based on our projections, we will be able
to survive a shutdown well into 2021 and still be able to resume operations
However, after nearly 40 years in this space, and after having achieved
all of this, in May 2020, and without any prior discussion, the Ministry of
Citizens’ Services dropped a bombshell on the Society and advised us that
it would not be renewing our lease when the current one expires on September
30, 2020. Instead, they advised us that they intend to repurpose the
space for offices.