For us, Pride is about uplifting voices, celebrating the culture, and supporting 2SLGBTQ+ rights. And with Pride Month in full swing, we wanted to share some advice from 2SLGBTQ+ and ally restaurant owners from across the country to others who are just starting out in the business. Here’s what they had to say.
Follow your gut.
Social and environmental causes are close to her heart, and Pride is no different.
She says, “Be true to yourself and take other people’s advice with a grain of salt. It might be right for your business, or it might not, but only you really know what would be right for your business. A lot of people told me not to be an advocate or to use my business to say things that are important to me – and to just sell donuts. And I just think that my business would not be where it is if I operated that way. And that may not be true for everybody, but it’s true for me. And so basically just follow your gut. You know what’s right for you.”
Since 2017, Skip has helped her increase the company’s delivery capacity. “We do have our own in-house service,” Kinden says, “but we only have one driver. It doesn’t compare to the network that Skip has. Also, we don’t have the capability to track where our order is on an app, I think that’s my favourite feature from Skip is that you can see where your courier is with your food because you’re hungry.”
Be yourself and take risks.
Opened in 2013, Craig’s Cookies is already an iconic brand in Toronto and Newfoundland, both in LGBTQ+ communities and beyond. The owner (and namesake) Craig Pike is known for his classics like Chocolate Chip, unique creations like Cinnamon Bun, and even a Pride cookie loaded with rainbow sprinkles.
Partnering with Skip has really helped get the word out about his brand. Pike says, “Getting cookies out there through delivery is something that’s been a huge support for our company. We’re finding [Skip is] bringing Craig’s Cookies the brand, but also that warm, yummy, fresh-baked cookie right to your home within 30 minutes. And that’s pretty awesome.”
What would he tell other prospective LGBTQ+ business owners?
“I would say be authentic. Believe in yourself. Trust that who you are is important, and when you shine yourself onto your community, your community will then support you. It can be a risk, for sure. But what I’ve learned is that there’s been nothing but love and care surrounded by me being able to really offer who I am and have my business be a huge reflection of my values and ethics as a queer business owner.”
Bring quality to the community.
Tabla Village, located in Montreal’s bustling gay neighbourhood, helps keep the community well-fed with traditional Indian favourites. And during the height of the pandemic, owner Syed Moinuddin says Skip ensured he could keep on doing it:
“Before the pandemic, I was with Skip too. But during the pandemic when everything was shutting down, I was completely [relying] on Skip and they helped me a lot.”
He also credits the community response to their success, and has some advice on how to get 2SLGBTQ+ clients coming back for more:
“The LGBT community, they’re a very important part of our society here. And I advise all the clients, if they can open a business, especially in the village, they’re very good client(s), and they can be successful. If they work hard and if their menu is good, the food has to be fresh. And if they sell [and] serve quality food, for sure, they will succeed.”
Proud to continue supporting 2SLGBTQ+ communities across Canada
All year long, we look forward to fun and impactful new ways to show our support for Pride.
In 2018, we marked our first time marching in Pride parades as an organization and we began our ongoing donation voucher program – donating $3 every time the voucher is used – in order to give to various organizations including the Youth Line in Toronto and Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg.
In 2019, we once again marched in Pride Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Montreal with our own parade float.
In 2020, we supported virtual celebrations for Pride Winnipeg, Vancouver Pride, Pride Toronto, and Fierté Montreal by donating more than $135,000 to date.
In 2021, we had a blast hosting a virtual Drag Brunch with some fierce Canadian Queens. We also expanded to include Ottawa Pride and we created a cuisine tag called “Celebrating Pride” and tagged restaurants celebrating pride or had 2SLGBTQ+ staff in their kitchen.
This year, we’re happy to see communities across Canada able to celebrate in person once again – and we will be right there alongside you.
Happy Pride from everyone at Skip!