Relevant and Targeted Graduating Projects to Support Local Restaurant Recovery Through COVID-19 Pandemic


UBC MFRE student covid restaurant project
Shinan Shi 2021 MFRE alumna

As the pandemic stretched over a year into summer 2021, many businesses continued to face significant challenges; the restaurant industry was no exception. Restaurants and café’s continued to endure staffing difficulties, cash flow concerns, and increased costs to operate during a global pandemic.

MFRE alumni Rutong Gao and Shinan Shi conducted their summer 2021 graduating project on providing recommendations for how the City of Vancouver can support its local restaurants’ recovery during and after the pandemic. The project was conducted in collaboration with UBC MFRE, CityStudio Vancouver, and the Vancouver City Planning Commission.


To complete their graduating project,

1.     Rutong and Shinan first had to get familiar with the basics; they researched current policies that supported restaurants when the pandemic first hit.

2.     Next, they set out to collect primary and real-time data by developing and launching a survey so they can understand and address the most pressing issues facing the industry. Over 150 local restaurants responded to the survey, and a few restaurant owners were also interviewed to get a better sense of on-the-ground experience.

3.     Lastly, after analyzing the data and interpreting the results, they presented their findings, insight and recommendations to the Vancouver City Planning Commission and Vancouver City Councillors .

UBC student restaurant project
Rutong Gao 2021 MFRE alumna

The MFRE graduating project allowed Rutong and Shinan to work on a relevant and targeted project in the food sector; their deliverables contained current, reliable, and valuable information for the City of Vancouver to take into consideration as they continue to support local businesses into COVID-19 recovery.

In addition, MFRE students were able to utilize their policy analysis knowledge, as well as their data analysis and survey design skills, on a project where they also had to define the problem clearly, design the project methodology, and conduct it through to completion.