While some local restaurants battle the rising costs and inflation, one business in particular is finding a unique way to flourish.
Refire Kitchen opened their second location in the latter part of 2022 and they are thriving despite rising food costs.
The business began with chef Tod Bosence creating food for his wife’s co-workers who were all frontline healthcare workers.
Every shift she had, he would have more shepherd’s pies, lasagnas and easily heatable foods so nurses and doctors could get a good, healthy meal quickly.
Bosence had previously been head chef at Hotel Rialto where he worked with a bartender who had an extensive culinary background, Brian Newham, and a marketing manager with a mind for business, Rob Curtis.
Soon after, the trio had left Hotel Rialto, they decided to try and make a business out of the food Bosence had been cooking for healthcare workers up until that point.
“I put together a website and we’ll brand it, create a logo and we’ll put it online and see what happens,” Curtis told Victoria Buzz.
“We rented a commissary kitchen out in Keating and Brian and Tod would go in the morning and start preparing the meals and we’d get in our car and deliver them.”
“Initially it was like, this one’s for my neighbour, this one’s for my cousin, we recognized all the names that were coming in but pretty soon we started to not recognize the names and all of the sudden it became quite real.”
Their business model wasn’t new. Places like M&M Food Market have been doing take-and-bake for a long time. Refire wanted to do something like them but in a re-energized and artisanal way.
Soon they were able to open a brick and mortar location at 843 Fort Street to sell their products out of one place as delivery orders continued to grow.
“Once we got the storefront open, things really took off,” said Curtis.
“That Fort Street location has been great for us. A lot of foot traffic, it’s kind of a funky street with a really eclectic mix of cool businesses.”
On November 5th, they opened their second location on the cusp between View Royal and Esquimalt at 100 Aldersmith Place, just off Admirals Road.
“We were really just hunting for a kitchen space, we weren’t really looking for a storefront,” Curtis said.
Refire has kitchen needs that are quite different from a normal sit-down restaurant. They don’t serve food hot-and-ready, they only do take-and-bake so they mostly need lots of prep space and production area.
“This space became available and what we really liked about it was it was kind of a gateway to the Westshore.”
The new kitchen and retail space is close to Victoria proper as well as close and accessible for all residents of the Westshore who might not have made the trip downtown for Refire Kitchen’s take-and-bake wares.
“That area’s been awesome for the retail side of things so far, there’s a lot of density out there,” Curtis told Victoria Buzz.
“There’s two big anchor stores we are nestled between with the big Canadian Tire and the Thrifty Foods, so it’s an awesome location.”
As food prices continue to rise, Refire Kitchen has had to make some adjustments to their menu, but overall, they have been trying their hardest to keep their food affordable and keep their prices static.
“”You know, you try your hardest to stick it through without raising your prices because we’re all customers as well as business people and no one wants to have prices go up,” said Curtis.
“We’ve had to remove menu items because the retail price would just be too uncomfortable to be sustainable.”
“We just remove it until the prices come back down to earth.”
Refire Kitchen looks forward to bringing in a new menu in 2023 and changing things up from the winterized comfort food menu to something a bit more springy as well as doing more pop-ups to serve their food hot for their customers.