Despite two years of COVID related restrictions and closures, and now dealing with high inflation and interest rates and staff shortages, still one Vaughan, Ontario small business owner remains optimistic about the future of the hospitality sector.
Tony Carvalho, president & CEO of the games company GotSkill? was active throughout the pandemic supporting the restaurants, bars and hospitality establishments that his company serves throughout Ontario. In 2020 GotSkill? provided food and words of encouragement to front line workers. The company offered financial relief to its business clientele. And in 2021 Carvalho initiated a relief fund that provided non-repayable grants directly to cash-strapped hospitality establishments to go towards paying their staff and keeping their doors open.
Today, Carvalho sees that the worst of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic is over. “It is a new normal but people still want to get out and socialize, to eat and have a good time with their friends. It’s not going to be an easy journey for most businesses, and there are lots of challenges, but I feel the worst of it is behind us and we are on the road to recovery.”
“The financial opportunity our business provides the hospitality sector is more important and needed today than they have ever been,” adds Carvalho.
The businessman’s optimism is founded in his view of the character and resiliency of fellow business owners. Carvalho explains, “When COVID hit all business plans went sideways. Yet, businesses have helped one another through the rough patches. Government was there as well supporting the hospitality industry. For example, regulations were modified to help restaurants and bars, and this was critical to the survival of many establishments. We applaud the Ontario government for maintaining these changes and supporting the industry’s recovery.”
Carvalho adds, “There is no surrender for the owners and staff of hospitality venues. In many cases it is the only livelihood they have and they’ve sunk everything into their business. So, we are still pulling for one another.”
Established in 2016, GotSkill? games can be found in food, liquor and entertainment establishments across Ontario, from Pickle Lake and Thunder Bay in the North, to Cornwall and Ottawa in the East, to Windsor in the West, and in cities across the Golden Horseshoe/GTA.
Carvalho explains GotSkill? provides hosting business owners with an additional stream of revenue. Businesses get a portion of the money spent on the game units. The games also provide a fun entertainment value for patrons, who stay longer and order more food and beverage.
Businesses hosting GotSkill? games have been very satisfied with the results. One example, Bonnie Zufelt, owner of Partners Billiards in North Bay states, “My business needed the new influx of cash to help with increased expenses, increased wages, and other things since I installed the machines. With no product or labor costs the games made profit right from the beginning and is such a simple way of generating newfound income.
Christopher Hudspeth, owner of Pegasus on Church in Toronto, sums up his experience this way, “We have benefited greatly by having GotSkill? machines at Pegasus. Our customers enjoy the additional entertainment factor at the bar, while the business appreciates the additional revenue that allows us to be sustainable in the future.”
Support through the pandemic years Carvalho states that GotSkill? is still considering ways to assist their clients. Through the pandemic the company found innovative ways to support Ontario small businesses. In the last two-and-a-half years, GotSkill?:
worked with business owners, providing physical separators and cleaning materials to make their games compliant with new social distancing and health restrictions
endorsed the Restaurant Industry Sustainability and Empowerment (RISE) initiative that made representations to all three levels of government for support with specific measures to help restaurant and bar owners with costs of operation
introduced a special rebate program for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues carrying their games; in summer of 2020, it paid out close to $500,000 to over 150 establishments to provide cash flow and help offset pandemic costs
was the lead donor and voluntarily managed the Restaurant & Bar Support Fund helping more than 40 hospitality establishments across Ontario with non-repayable grants
Official Sponsor of MADD Canada GotSkill? is a recognized Official Sponsor of MADD Canada. Each year the company donates a minimum of $100,000 towards MADD Canada’s victims’ services and programs. GotSkill? players are also presented with the option to donate to MADD Canada - and many do pay forward their winnings. In 2022, GotSkill? donated a total of $132,000.
GotSkill? also promotes responsible drinking by displaying a MADD Canada message on their video screens. It is estimated that, annually, the MADD Canada – GotSkill? message is seen nearly 1,000,000 times in Ontario restaurants, pubs and drinking establishments with this partnership.
MADD Canada President Jaymie-Lyne Hancock expressed appreciation for the company’s contributions, “Skill Based Games is an invaluable part of MADD Canada and we thank you and your customers for your ongoing support and efforts to save lives. Together we will make a difference in the fight against impaired driving.”
GotSkill? / SBG - Skills Based Games Inc. SBG - Skill Based Games Inc. (SBG) is a Canadian distributor of GotSkill? games developed for installation in the hospitality sector (restaurants, bars, pool halls, cafes, bowling alleys, entertainment establishments, etc.). The games are skill-based, requiring hand-eye coordination, and include the opportunity for cash prizes. SBG’s GotSkill? games are fun, entertaining, and skill-based. Visit: www.gotskill.ca Visit www.gotskill.ca for more information or contact: Tony Carvalho - 905.264.4567 or firstname.lastname@example.org