lox and schmear toronto

Toronto restaurant owner goes on rant after customer complains about $12 sandwich

A Toronto restaurant owner recently issued a lengthy explanation to a customer who complained about the price of a $12 sandwich, citing rising food inflation, as well as other costs associated with running a small business. 

Lox + Schmear, located at 1030 St Clair Ave W, is a sandwich shop known for its Montreal-style bagels featuring small-batch smoked salmon. The store's sandwiches range from $3 for your typical butter bagel to $16 for more premium toppings. 

On Wednesday, Lox + Schmear's owner responded to a three-star review from a customer that claimed their bagel was too expensive considering its size and ingredients. 

"Warning: Only read this post if you want to learn about what it is like to run a small business. This type of review/ comment gets me to my core. Let me explain," the post reads. 

"I'm sure you've been to a grocery store lately and have noticed that food is expensive. And while this is a bigger issue (food security, hunger, wealth divide), it is something that affects food businesses immensely and comments about pricing tends to be a sensitive topic for me," the small business owner wrote.

According to the owner, the food you typically find at the grocery store is most often cheaper than what suppliers charge the small business. 

"I then take that food and do more things to it (slice it, pickle it, add more ingredients) using my time and skills, under a roof that I pay rent on monthly, with lights on, with refrigeration that loves to get repaired, using soap and sanitizer and linens to properly clean," the explanation continues. 

"When you walk through our doors, do you see an employee? Did they take your order and also hand you your food? Was that bagel packaged for you in a bag that was stamped and were you given a napkin? Did you ask for more napkins? A fork? Did you need a water cup? These things are not FREE," the post reads. 

"Your small BUT tasty sandwich isn't just about the price of the basic ingredients. I hope you believe me when I say I really am not here to over charge you for food. And if I'm being honest with you, I'm not an owner living a lavish lifestyle." 

The response wraps up with the owner explaining that if people enjoy living in neighbourhoods with small businesses to frequent, they must understand that there's a cost. 

Plenty of other small businesses in Toronto reiterated the owner's sentiments in the comments.

"Feel this so hard. Trying to make pricing accessible and then having people throw that in your face as too expensive is ridiculous," Bampot House wrote. 

"Preachhhhhhh! Customers don't understand the overhead that goes into our craft," Bubbie's Brisket chimed in. 

"For people to work hard and give up their entire lives to keep neighbourhoods fun and thriving, there is a cost. I will never force you to buy my food, although, I REALLY really appreciate it," the owner concluded. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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