Category: Other

Save BC Restaurants!

This is a Crisis.

The Restaurant Industry is facing countless challenges and the BCRFA and Restaurants Canada have come together to show the Government that when you stack challenge after challenge, cost increase after cost increase, over debilitating debt from loans, the picture is a serious one and not easy to read.

“The Menu” below is being introduced to Government bodies, the press and the public on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, with the hopes that seeing everything that Restaurants face in one intense document will help people understand the severity of what Restaurants are going through.

It is our hope that “The Menu” will show the truth of the crushing impacts of what Restaurants deal with on a daily basis and encourage real support and understanding from our Government so that change will be imminent. 

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Revolutionary POS System can Prevent a $7,000 fine from the Minors as Agents Program.

The team at Rising Tide Consultants has been researching avenues to help industry in the defence against the Government’s Minors as Agents program.

The Minors as Agents program is funded and regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, whereby “youthful-appearing adults” are recruited to attempt to purchase liquor on the Branch’s behalf. The issue is the agents can often appear older, and if a judgment call is made to not ask for ID, the business can be in some very hot water.

One of the key resources Rising Tide has discovered is a revolutionary POS and Payment Processing System all in one convenient hand held device. Endorsed by Forbes as the #1 restaurant POS system with over 93,000 restaurant locations around the world, Toast is now available in Canada.

The functionalities are 100% geared towards hospitality venues with one very important one that will aid in prevention of a $7,000 fine and possible subsequent 21 day suspension of your liquor license, which are the penalties if you are caught in non-compliance with the Minors as Agents program.

You can customize the POS to default to an initial screen reminding the service staff to check for valid ID that requires acknowledgment before they are allowed to proceed to processing any order. This should not only prevent the service of alcohol to minors, but if an infraction does occur, then you have a strong defence of due diligence.

There is also an SOS functionality that the service staff can press a button that immediately communicates a distress message to your desired printer location in the event of an intoxicated, belligerent or difficult customer interaction. This is mapped to the table directly and is invisible to the customer.

For more information on Toast and deeper insight on how you can guard your business against the MAP, contact us directly.

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Happy Holidays from Rising Tide Consultants

We wish to thank you for choosing us as your licensing expert and consulting partner. It has been our pleasure to support the retail and hospitality industries for the past 35 years and we look forward to being here for all of your future needs.

Happy Holidays from the Rising Tide Team!

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Impactful Wins at Vancouver City Council

Vancouver City Council met Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023 on some very important issues for Industry.

We are proud to be a member of the Hospitality Task Force with key industry partners, including the BCRFA, ABLE BC, Restaurants Canada, The Craft Brewer’s Guild and the BCHA that has been advocating to the city on the following key issues. We are pleased to report some impactful wins! Vancouver is no longer “No Fun City.”

The existing licensing moratoriums for Granville Street, Chinatown and Gastown have been eliminated so those areas of Vancouver are now open for new business licenses or expansion of existing licensed establishments.

“With respect to the moratorium on Granville Street, my view is moratoriums just prop up the dinosaurs, it does not allow for creativity, innovation, and a new opportunity to breathe life in. You’re just propping up the cheap bars, with cheap drinks, and you end up with drunks. I think you need to have that creativity and innovation to allow us to compete with other cities.” ~Bert Hick, Founder and President Rising Tide Consultants

The distancing requirements of licensed establishments has also been eliminated, clearing the way for more licensed establishments of similar size.

The licensing of retail business with liquor primary licenses, such as Spas, Beauty Salons and Retail Stores has now been approved. This will allow for these types of businesses to serve alcohol to their patrons along with their regular retail business.

These are very positive outcomes and we are proud to have been an integral part of bringing these changes to the City of Vancouver. We promise to continue our mission to streamline processes, slash red tape and eliminate antiquated policies for the benefit of our tourism and hospitality industries.

Read the City News article HERE

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Magnifying glass and annual number 2023 with REVIEW word

2023 in Review: A Year of Wins for Rising Tide Consultants

As we bid farewell to 2023, Rising Tide Consultants takes a moment to celebrate a remarkable journey marked by milestones, industry recognitions, and successful collaborations. Join us as we delve into the highlights that made 2023 a year to remember.

Celebrating 35 Years of Excellence

Rising Tide Consultants proudly reached a significant milestone – 35 years in business! Over the last 3 and a half decades, our firm has demonstrated unwavering commitment and expertise in the liquor and hospitality sector.

As recognition, our founder and President Bert Hick was recently honored with an induction into the BCRFA Hall of Fame as the “Friend of Industry”. We couldn’t be more proud of Bert, and all of his contributions to this industry over the years.

Strengthening Our Team

A pivotal addition to Rising Tide Consultants in 2023 was Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch. Joining as a Senior Licensing Consultant, Dulgald Smith brings invaluable experience to the team, ensuring continued success in navigating the complex regulatory landscape in Canada.

Advocacy and Collaboration

Rising Tide spearheaded the Liquor Hospitality Task Force, collaborating with Industry Associations. This collaborative effort with the Vancouver City Council resulted in significant strides towards simplifying processes and implementing policy changes, fostering an environment where businesses can thrive, innovate, and grow. The commitment to further progress remains at the forefront of Rising Tide’s mission.

Continuing to engage with industry associations at both provincial and local government levels, Rising Tide has been actively educating licensees on the Minors as Agents’ Program, ensuring compliance and a steadfast defense of diligence.

Advocating for Change

Rising Tide has actively advocated for amendments to regulations, urging the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to permit liquor stores to temporarily relocate during development. This proactive approach demonstrates Rising Tide’s dedication to addressing industry challenges and facilitating smooth transitions.

Client Wins in 2023

The year 2023 saw numerous client victories for Rising Tide Consultants, showcasing the breadth of expertise and dedication to securing licensing approvals:

The Cineplex entertainment experience “Rec Room” secured licensing approval, set to debut in Vancouver in Fall 2024.

Rogers Arena received approval for a new bar concept, enhancing the fan experience between the visiting team and the Canucks dressing rooms.

TopTable Group’s fine dining restaurant Marilena claimed the #3 spot in Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2023.

The iconic Fountainhead Pub successfully expanded, increasing interior and patio capacities and transitioning to a class 3 liquor license.

Dahlia restaurant and its rooftop patio in the new Azur Hotel, the Gordon Ramsay Burger in the Hard Rock Casino Coquitlam, and the Massey Theatre in New Westminster all received licensing approvals, showcasing the diversity of Rising Tide’s portfolio.

Community Engagement

Rising Tide Consultants actively participated in and sponsored impactful industry events throughout 2023, including the BCHA Summit, SPARK Conference, Fortify Conference, and NGCOA.

As we look back on 2023, Rising Tide Consultants expresses gratitude for the trust and collaboration of clients, partners, and the industry at large. With a steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation, and community support, Rising Tide looks forward to a promising future in the evolving landscape of liquor and hospitality regulations. Cheers to a successful 2023, and here’s to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in 2024!

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Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, joins Rising Tide Consultants as Senior Licensing Consultant.

Dugald Smith, former Deputy General Manager of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, joins Rising Tide Consultants as Senior Licensing Consultant.

“In my career as a regulator, finding opportunities to support the industry and small businesses has always been the best part of the job. I look forward to working with Bert Hick and his team in helping licensees and applicants to navigate the regulatory environment and find solutions to their business challenges.” – Dugald Smith

Dugald joins Rising Tide from the Provincial Government having spent the latter part of his career with the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB). His formal education includes a Bachelor of Science and a Certificate in Business and Management.

Before joining the LCRB, Dugald worked as an Executive Director with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, where he played a key role in negotiating various agreements with First Nations, including the Maa nutlh and T’lamin treaties. 

With the LCRB over the past six years, Dugald has held several leadership roles, including Deputy General Manager of Licensing and Executive Director responsible for Programs and Strategy. He also was the Project Director on the development of the Cannabis Retail Store licensing framework, leading the implementation of the regulatory, policy and operational programs.

Dugald has significant senior experience in liquor policy and licensing operations at an executive level and brings unique insights into the legal cannabis industry, regulatory challenges and opportunities this industry faces. 

“I am honoured and thrilled that Dugald Smith has joined the Rising Tide team and we are very much looking forward to working with him for years to come.

When I first met Dugald years ago, it was in a meeting with the Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch officials. We had an instant likeness and respect for each other. Over the years when Dugald was the Acting General Manager of the Branch, we would agree on some applications and policy issues and at times, it was a compromise. On a few issues, it was a case of “agree to disagree.” He was the regulator and I was the consultant pushing the boundaries. However, we always respected our different perspectives and regulatory limitations.

Dugald brings to Rising Tide a wealth of experience and knowledge which will becombined with my 35 years of consulting experience and previous experience as the General Manager of the Liquor Branch to further serve our clients and expand our horizons.

I look forward to introducing Dugald as he transitions to the private sector and thewonderful world of licensing from our side of the street!” Bert Hick -President & Founder, Rising Tide Consultants
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Rising Tide’s Preferred Construction Management Partner: Pacific Solutions Contracting

Pacific Solutions Contracting does commercial construction differently. And here at Rising Tide, we couldn’t be happier! We’ve seen way too many of our industry friends struggle through the complexities of construction over the years. It can be a daunting path to go down, so Pacific set out to change that experience –  proving why they are quickly becoming Vancouver’s leading boutique hospitality construction company. 

Integrated Construction Partner

At the heart of it all, Pacific takes a more integrated and collaborative approach than a traditional general contracting firm. This makes them an excellent partner for both entrepreneurs and business groups looking for a trusted partner in construction to help lead them through a renovation or new construction while they look after their business. 

Pacific Solutions Contracting has intentionally built their organization in a way that supports their clients throughout the full life cycle of their businesses, with personalized services that include:

  • Early concept planning guidance.
  • Location and lease review.
  • Pre-construction management.
  • Consultant & network referrals for architects, designers, and engineers.
  • Marketing content support.
  • Post-construction support and maintenance.

Hospitality Experts & Resource

Since their inception in 2010, Pacific has sharpened their expertise in hospitality construction. They understand where the red flags are hiding, where the common pitfalls are that business owners can find themselves in, and they are tapped into market pricing, supply chain logistics, and construction economics. With their finger on the pulse, their team of “Solutionists” are proactive in scheduling, budgetary forecasting, and are experts at finding creative solutions for any obstacle that may come up throughout the construction process.  

Pacific is humbly honored to showcase over 150 social destinations in their portfolio. From Michelin-starred restaurants to your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, you’ve probably enjoyed a number of their establishments such as:

  • Tacofino (Ocho, Oasis, Kits, Hastings Street, Gastown)
  • Nook Restaurants (Olympic Village, Kitsilano, Shipyards)
  • Published
  • Steamworks Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Pleasant Vintage
  • Ca Marche
  • Lumine Coffee
  • Lee’s Donuts
  • The Gray Olive
  • Juke
  • Cartems Donuts
  • Kam Wai Dim Sum
  • Catch 122
  • Local Public Eatery (River District)
  • La Grotta Del Formaggio
  • Jungle Room
  • Nanoose Bay Cafe
  • Potluck Cafe Society

Steamworks Main Street

Tacofino Ocho

Published on Main

From Their #madebypacific Clients

“I have never encountered a construction firm with an entire team of people who care so much about me, my priorities, and my bottom line. It was a pleasure getting to know the team during the construction process and many have become regulars at my establishment. Having a construction partner like Pacific is an essential part of launching a new business, and I always appreciate knowing they are there to support my business for anything I need in the future.”

Bryan Markovic | Owner/Operator, Steamworks Mount Pleasant

“We always felt like Pacific had our best interests in mind in order to keep control of our budget and schedule. The regular meetings and constant contact with their operations team ensured we were always informed every step of the way. The quality of the millwork craftsmanship by Pacific is also evident, and everything came together exactly as we had envisioned.”

Cody Allmin | Owner, Published Restaurant

About Pacific

Pacific was born out of a love for the city that they call home. Their team truly takes pride in seeing our local communities grow and evolve through unique spaces. They believe in supporting all creative businesses and helping them find success. Regardless of size, scope, complexity, or budget, the team at Pacific is always happy to guide the community in the right direction when it comes to any questions (small or large) about commercial construction. Feel free to reach out and say hi!


Phone: 604 620 3993


Instagram: @pacificsolutionscontracting

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Whiskey on the Rocks

Rising Tide Consultants Offer Strategic Action Plans to Protect Business from The Minors as Agents Program


Rising Tide Consultants has 35 years of experience in Liquor Licensing and Compliance and is the expert in navigating challenging situations for hospitality and retail. The Government Minors As Agents Program is something all owners and operators should be watching out for to avoid a $7,000 fine and possible 21 day closure!

In November 2022, the Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch announced they were resuming the Minors as Agents Program of sending a minor into restaurants, bars, and liquor stores without providing identification. They have been very successful in catching licensees not requiring 2 pieces of valid identification in these transactions.

Rising Tide Consultants can help you avoid falling victim to this targeted program by arming you with the right information and training to lay the proper groundwork to avoid penalties or dispute a charge if you are caught in non-compliance.

We will do an on-site visit to your establishment to thoroughly audit your operation and provide you with a personalized Strategic Plan that will inform you of what you can do to set you up for the best chance of success.

We will address proper policies and procedures with regard to ID practices, communication to your staff and management, and updated systems you can put in place to ensure compliance and give you the defence of due diligence. We can also customize a policies and procedures manual for your business for an additional fee.

Value $1,200
Feature Rate $499 (+applicable taxes)

Contact us now to lock in this feature rate and protect your business against this program that the branch is making a very significant priority at a time when the industry is still fragile.

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Unrecognizable Barista pouring a beer in a pub

Avoid a $7000 Fine and Possible 21 Day Closure for your Business

Think the Minors As Agents Program doesn’t apply to you? Think again

The ‘Minors as Agents’ program is ramping up inspections and enforcement. Are you prepared? Rising Tide provides support, knowledge and expertise in all facets of liquor licensing, compliance and enforcement issues. One of the hot topics facing the industry right now is the MINORS AS AGENTS program. 

Although it is commonly thought that retail liquor stores are the main targeted businesses for this initiative, it actually applies to all liquor primary, food primary, restaurants, pubs, cannabis stores as well as retail liquor stores.

The Minors as Agents program is funded and regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, whereby “youthful-appearing adults” are recruited to attempt to purchase liquor on the Branch’s behalf from businesses selling liquor or cannabis. The youthful appearance of the agents is intended to raise concerns by employees as to whether or not the agents were minors and proceed to require two pieces of proper identification before the purchase of liquor or cannabis is allowed. The issue is the agents can often appear older, and if a judgment call is made to not ask for ID, the business can be in some very hot water. 

The first infraction is a $7,000 FINE or 7 day suspension. If you pay this fine and the infraction goes on your permanent record, then your second or subsequent infractions within a calendar year (and you can be sure that they will be targeting your establishment again) could result in a higher fine or up to a 21-DAY SUSPENSION of your liquor license.

Rising Tide Consultants are experts on this program, so we can help your business take measures to protect against the risks and penalties and, if necessary, fight a non-compliance charge alongside you. We also do audits of licensed establishments to make sure they can pass a routine inspection by ensuring the proper policies and procedures are in place. Contact us now and learn how to avoid falling victim to this targeted program. Government is increasing its focus and has been ramping up inspections and enforcement last year, and it will be continuing in 2023.

Rising Tide can provide you with updated Policy and Procedure manuals, training on ID protocols and placement of appropriate ID signage within your establishment so that your staff are armed with the right information and training to lay the proper groundwork to avoid penalties or dispute a charge if you are caught in non-compliance.

We’re here to help.
Contact Us
Your Initial Consultation is Complimentary.

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Vancouver makes positive move in liberalizing Liquor Laws

Bert Hick, President & Founder of Rising Tide Consultants, spoke March 8th at the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services on Vancouver’s efforts to liberalize rules governing alcohol and the hospitality industry. Up for discussion was a “dual license” that would enable an establishment to serve food during the day and then transition into a bar in the evening.

Vancouver council considers three “dual licence” applications, from Cinema Public House and Cold Tea, both on the Downtown Granville strip, as well as Hamburger Mary’s in Davie Village.

Bert addressed Council asking for 2 Miracles.

“Miracle #1 is to amend current legislation to allow new establishments that are opening to apply for a dual license right off the bat. Right now, you have to have an existing Class 1 or Class 2 license in order to apply for a dual license.”

“Miracle #2 is to get rid of the antiquated policy that predates 2005 that simply does not work and doesn’t exist in any other city, regarding the minimum distance between certain classes of liquor primary establishments, when existing establishments are seeking dual licensing.”

Following Mr. Hick’s address to Council, we are pleased to announce that Cinema Public House has been approved for their dual license!

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