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Restaurant owner forced to close amid rising costs, staffing shortages

Reference: CTV News

The owner of a popular restaurant in Washago is throwing in the towel and walking away from what once brought him a sense of pride amid rising costs.

"It's really come down to a lot of heartache and a lot of tears and trying to make it work. It's just too tough," says James Cameron, owner of R'Cottage.

Cameron purchased the rustic eatery in the heart of downtown during the pandemic in 2020 as an investment, but as the pandemic's challenges eased, new ones arose.

"It's the cost of transport, and supply chain issues, and staffing, and as you're looking at your bottom line at the end of the day, your margins are shrinking by the week," he says.

Cameron says he had to hike his costs for customers by 60 to 70 per cent as food prices rose, and he says he's not alone. According to Cameron, his business is one of three to close in the community this year, saying that along with costs, staffing has been a significant issue.

"Trying to fill the void of dishwasher or prep cooks, there just doesn't seem to be anybody around," he notes.

Cameron feels he's done everything possible to keep his business afloat for as long as he could and says he will miss the customers the most.

"We all worked very, very hard to try to save the costs and try to stay open, but I don't know how to keep doing it. It's very, very tough," he says.

Long-time customer Dan Stoutt says the close-knit community will miss the family-friendly establishment.

"It's a sad day," Stoutt says. "This was basically a landmark here, and before it was R'Cottage it was an ice cream place here. So it's always been a place where you bring your kids and really one of the best meals around."

With the doors of the restaurant now closed, Cameron says the building is officially for sale. He says he hopes the new owners are able to serve the community for several years to come... Read More