bdi

Iconic ice cream joint in Canada forced to close because it's too popular

For many small businesses in Canada, the pandemic has meant potentially having to close their doors for good due to an unprecedented fall in revenue.

But for one, its recent closure was actually a sign of a little too much of something good, not terrible.

If you've ever been to the Winnipeg area, you've probably heard of the Bridge Drive-In (BDI), one of the city's most renowned ice cream parlours.

The famous seasonal establishment, which has been around for more than 60 years, is a bustling and iconic spot in the summer months (much like similar ice creameries elsewhere in the country, such as Tom's Dairy Freeze in Toronto).

But, as BDI opened for the season on May 8 — weeks later than usual, thanks to the health crisis — it became clear that things were not going to be business as usual.

BDI ended up having a problem opposite to the one most independents are experiencing lately: it got so busy in its first two days of opening that its drive-thru caused traffic jams in the neighbourhood, and it had to shutter once again.

Note from BDI: Thank you so much to the support our customers have shown us over the last two days as we experimented with a drive thru at BDI. I’m sure it’s safe to say that under no circumstances did we ever think we would have to operate like this - nor has it been done in the last 63 years in our operation. This was done to keep not only our staff safe but our customers as well. At our time of opening every year there is a lot of excitement and media attention. We tried to deal with this as best we could in the drive thru scenario anticipating that we would be able to improve efficiency as time went on. Like we said in previous statements this was just an idea and we intended to adjust if needed. We do apologize if this affected anyone in the neighbourhood or while driving by the jubilee location. Due to the outpouring of negativity regarding the drive thru effective immediately we will shut down the Jubilee location. We will re-evaluate and try to reopen to pedestrian traffic with social distancing measures in place, as well as decreased parking in our lot. We have to say that BDI has always been a family run business and we try to not only help the community but use our platform for helping other people as well. During these uncertain times everyone is just trying to do their best, and again we are sorry if this plan affected your life in any negative way. For anyone that intended on having BDI as part of their Mother’s Day plan we sincerely apologize.

A post shared by Bridge Drive-In (@bridgedrivein) on

The drive-thru was a new approach that the business was trying out, as due to social distancing measures, customers were unable to crowd the takeout windows of the shop like they usually would.

But, cars ended up crowding down Jubilee Avenue to wait their turn for a tasty cone instead, angering passing drivers who were just trying to get through the snarl and into their driveways.

Because of the disruption, BDI announced on May 10 that it had to close down again.

"Thank you so much to the support our customers have shown us over the last two days," the business said on its Instagram and Twitter pages.

"At our time of opening every year there is a lot of excitement and media attention. We tried to deal with this as best we could in the drive thru scenario anticipating that we would be able to improve efficiency as time went on."

It continued: "We do apologize if this affected anyone in the neighbourhood or while driving by... Due to the outpouring of negativity regarding the drive thru, effective immediately we will shut down the Jubilee location."

BDI added that it will be trying to sort out a new way to serve the public while ensuring that proper social distancing directives are heeded.

Social media users have made a slew of suggestions, such as starting a bicycle-thru, or closing the parking lot to make room for a spaced-out pedestrian line, rather than a drive-thru.

One even commented "Just open up! I would consider getting coronavirus for a banana split lol."

With those kinds of dedicated fans, let's hope that the shop finds a way to reopen soon. In the meantime, it will be donating the ice cream it's not selling to a local hospital.

Lead photo by

@ncolwilson


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Food & Drink

Canada's most famous Newfoundland store has closed and been replaced

Restaurant in Canada fined almost $1K for illegal patio tent

Restaurants are boycotting Nova Scotia lobster in support of Indigenous fishers

Nightclub in Canada agrees to close after video shows packed dance floor

Canada's most famous taco restaurant permanently closes

This restaurant in Canada might have the first perogy drive-thru in the world

Ontario restaurant threatened by lawsuit by man not wearing mask

Workers form a human chain at No Frills to strike over low wages