Opening a new restaurant is a lot of work. That’s why the City of Ottawa created the Business Ambassador Service (BAS) as a pilot project in 2013 to help restaurant owners get their new businesses up and running.
In 2014, the BAS was nominated nationally for a Golden Scissors Award by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) for municipal excellence in “cutting the red tape” for business owners. Clients using the BAS completed their process with the City in significantly less time – on average in 35 fewer business days.
In light of its success, Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the City’s Community and Protective Services Committee, revealed plans this week to make the Business Ambassador Service permanent and to expand the service to benefit more entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Business Ambassador Service helps restaurant owners navigate through the application process by clarifying what permits and licences are required, and when. Restaurant owners can work directly with City staff or use an online tool.
The service is currently available to a range of food-related businesses, including cafés, bakeries and butcher shops, with plans to expand the list to include food trucks.
These changes to the Business Ambassador Service will go to City Council for approval.