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CHATTER: Bagel Time faces pandemic’s challenges with high hopes (Feb. 2021)

March 5th, 2021 · No Comments

Bagel Time is now open at 551 Bloor St. W. COURTESY BAGEL TIME

The past year has hit restaurants particularly hard, but some eateries are managing not only to survive, but thrive despite the pandemic. Bagel Time, a family-owned chain specializing in fresh, Montreal-style bagels is one such business, having opened its third Toronto location just east of Bathurst Street in December. 

“We are a family-owned traditional business,” Arzoo Pathan, media coordinator of Bagel Time said in an interview with the Annex Gleaner. “Our goal and objective is to make this product that is beneficial to your health, organic, hand-rolled, and fresh. And it is not like any other traditional gas-made bagel.”

Bagel Time owners pride themselves on genuine “Montreal-style” bagels.

Bagel Time offers handmade bagels (with the option of gluten free bagels) that are boiled in honey water then baked in a wood-fired oven each day. Customers can pair their bagel of choice with a variety of toppings. 

According to Bagel Time’s website, Imran Khan worked at the first bagel bakery in Montreal, where he learned the tradition and recipe now being upheld by their family in Toronto. Khan and the family opened their first Bagel Time store located near Danforth and Pape avenues in 2017.

According to Pathan, their first store struggled during the pandemic. 

“The pandemic affected the company because one of our locations was at Danforth, and most of the businesses on Danforth closed down,” Pathan added that while the business struggled, they found new opportunities.

“We came up with a strategy of promoting our business by doing curbside deliveries and promoting our online platform as well. We started accelerating on those mediums and then were able to come up from that situation,” Pathan said. 

The family opened their third store within the Annex neighbourhood with high hopes. 

“The challenge was that people are still afraid to go outside and try new locations or new places,” Pathan said. She then went on to say that due to this challenge, they managed to adjust their business accordingly and connect to their customers through an online platform. 

Bagel Time can be found on UberEats, Skip the Dishes, as well as Ritual. They also offer catering. 

A steady stream of customers, all masked and socially distanced, can be witnessed coming and going at their new location at 551 Bloor St. West, making the Annex look like a pretty good fit for this start-up.

—Mary An/Gleaner News

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