CALGARY- Many local companies are either cancelling holiday events or downsizing drastically, as businesses from restaurants to event planning companies feel the pinch.
Staff at Distinctive Catering have seen a drop in regular customers, and according to manager Connie Quinton, the size of the events they will still cater has changed.
“The companies still want to appreciate their people, but they’re doing it on a smaller scale, and so we’re accommodating them, and also doing a lot of customizing.”
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At the Telus Convention Centre, holiday party bookings are down about 15 per cent.
Marketing director Heather Lundy says of those still coming, the budgets have been scaled back.
“For us it started in the second quarter of 2015,” said Lundy. “We started to see the decrease or the decline in business. We’re lucky we do have a lot of repeat business.”
One of the bigger cancellations was the Enmax holiday party.
Departments are now holding smaller, lower cost options, said Enmax spokesperson Doris Kaufmann Woodcock.
“We provide an essential service, and being mindful and respectful of the fact that this could be a tough time for people, was basically the decision why this wasn’t the right time to proceed,” said Kaufmann Woodcock.
Across the city, big banquet meals are being moved to restaurants and dinner parties are being replaced by cocktail receptions or office parties.
At the Jamesons Pub chain, they’ve adapted their group menu prices to fit the times.
“We actually have recession-friendly packages,” said chain spokesperson Cathy McDonald. “So a cheaper price point. For example, people can have a $16 meal versus a $48 prime rib buffet meal.”
At Distinctive Catering, they been through this kind of economic slump before, and adapting and adjusting are things they said they’ve learned from experience.