By: Hannah Kazemi, Staff Writer
The restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health limited the amount of customers each restaurant could serve by up to 50% capacity. The Study, SFU’s former on-campus pub managed by the Joseph Richard Group (JRG), faced similar challenges throughout the pandemic.
In November 2021, SFU Ancillary Services published a statement announcing the closure of the pub, noting The Study would be closed temporarily but for an “undetermined amount of time.” The statement also included comments from Ryan Moreno, co-owner of the Joseph Richard Group, who said the temporary closure was due to “lower than anticipated customer volume this term.”
Moreno had addressed the former staff of The Study, stating they had “enough positions available to transfer all current staff to other JRG locations at this time. We will continue to work with the team at SFU to monitor the situation and ensure we’re prepared to reopen as soon as possible.”
The Peak reached out to the Joseph Richard Group for comment after a photo of an eviction notice addressed to The Study began circulating in a popular subreddit. It was dated July 11, 2022. Comments on the post share the sentiment of disappointment over the closure of the pub, being one of only two options on campus. One person commented, “The vibe there was immaculate. It’s sad this has to go [ . . . ] I was looking forward to this place opening again.”
Karen Renaud, director of marketing and communications for the Joseph Richard Group, told The Peak in an email statement, “The Study was not evicted from SFU. Rather, COVID-19 restaurant closures took a toll on the industry at large and given the reduced amount of traffic through campus during that time, we were unable to sustain the business and keep it operational.” In the “Notice of Termination” posted on Reddit, the reasons for The Study’s eviction cited failure to pay rent and other fees.
The Peak also reached out to SFU administration for comment on the pub’s closure. Mark McLaughlin, SFU’s chief commercial services officer, told The Peak in an email statement, “The Study pub was closed for business reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the reduced number of people on campus.”
Prior to the opening of The Study, the Highland Pub occupied that space and was partially owned and operated by the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS). However, for similar financial reasons as The Study’s closure, the Highland Pub was shut down by the SFSS in early 2017. In September of the same year SFU took complete ownership of the space and announced plans for opening The Study.
McLaughlin told The Peak that for the time being, the space is “currently vacant” but that it will become a multi-purpose space on campus. He said, “recognizing that our community misses this social space we plan to re-open the location as a bookable event space in early 2023.”