The last few months of the year is an important period for restaurants’ bottom line.
The fourth quarter typically is a difficult one for restaurants to gauge in terms of sales. On one hand, there is a holiday uptick, particularly for restaurants that also offer catering for company parties. But this also is when wind and rain roll through Whatcom County, prompting many people to stay home and hunker down.
Last holiday season was a good one for local restaurant sales, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue. While the rest of retail was slowing down in Whatcom County because of the weakening Canadian dollar, restaurant sales totaled $81.8 million in the fourth quarter – an incease of nearly 3 percent compared to a year earlier.
In recent years the third quarter has been the strongest of the year in terms of sales in Whatcom County restaurants. With warm, sunny weather bringing out people to visit the area, July through September also are prime wedding months, keeping caterers busy. In 2015, restaurant sales hit $88.5 million in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter is a key period for restaurants in making decisions about the next year. The beginning of the year generally is the slowest time for sales, so it’s when owners decide whether to stay open, move to another location or do some major remodeling. How much money is made in the fourth quarter can help determine that next step.
Here is a look at some restaurant happenings in the past month:
▪ A new liquor license application was filed for a restaurant to go into 1114 Harris Ave., in the former Fairhaven Pub space. The proposed name is Lovitt Restaurant and the applicants are Kristen and Norman Six.
▪ Last month BowEdison Fine Food and Drink opened at 5545 Chuckanut Drive in Bow, near the Rhododendron Café. It offers brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends and dinners every day except Tuesday. The menu features locally sourced, farm-to-table dishes.
The restaurant was started by Marty Bracken, who lives in Bellingham and has experience running destination restaurants, including the Agate Pass Café in downtown Suquamish. Also on staff is chef Michael Stocklin and general manager Bridget McShane.
For further details about the restaurant or to make a reservation, visit bowedison.com.
▪ After five months of preparation, Zane Burger opened last month.
The restaurant is in the former Win’s Drive-In building at 1315 12th St. in Fairhaven.
The restaurant introduced its official menu on its Facebook page. Along with a variety of burgers, shakes and sundaes, menu items include hot dogs, fish and chips, and onion rings.
Zane Burger plans to be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.