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Kurt MacMillan
Vice President Operations & Finance
Tue, 12/18/2018 - 18:30

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that The Bomber will not be re-opening in January. However, the space will be renovated and re-branded based on student feedback on what you want that space to look like.

After 40 years serving students on campus, The Bomber has touched the lives of tens of thousands of UWaterloo students, and we’ve all made some great memories there – it was my first bartending job, and my second home for four years – so the decision to make a change was not an easy one.

Why is The Bomber closing?

  • Basically, The Bomber in its current form was no longer financially sustainable.
    • The Bomber has run at a financial loss for the last five years, with a 21% decrease in sales over the last year
    • The construction surrounding the SLC has resulted in decreased traffic flow through the SLC
    • Attendance at Bomber Wednesdays, Open Mic Night and even Trivia saw a drastic drop this past term; general attendance has also been declining: there was an almost 25% decline in patrons from May 2017 to May 2018

How was this decision reached?

  • A report from an independent consultant earlier this year recommended changes be implemented to combat the loss of income, including cutting food and labour costs, renovations, and re-branding The Bomber to a new concept.
  • The auditor’s report shows The Bomber reporting losses over the last five years; this report is presented to Feds’ Board of Directors, as well as publicly at Feds General Meeting in October of each year, and is posted on feds.ca.
  • The Bomber tried different ways to offset losses, but patronage continued to decline.
  • Feds Board of Directors approved renovations to The Bombshelter Pub in accordance with the independent consultant's recommendations. 
  • Knowing that the current format of The Bomber was not financially sustainable and that Board had approved renovations, Feds senior management decided not to continue to run at a loss while focusing resources instead on consulting students on what type of service they want and need in that space.

What happens now?

  • The space will become a new social space for students – and what that looks like will be up to students.
  • Undergrads will be asked for their feedback in 2019 in terms of what type of service they want to see, and what kind of needs they have that it would meet.

Why didn’t you let us know earlier? The Bomber’s already closed and we can’t say goodbye!

  • The timing sucks and we know it. It’s not ideal for anyone, and the decision in general was a really difficult one to make, but we have to follow certain procedures through the University’s Human Resources, and so the announcement came as soon as we could let everyone know – which unfortunately was after The Bomber had already closed for the end of term.

BUT we are planning two events in January so you can come back for one last hurrah and send off The Bomber in style! Make sure you come by for the very last ever First Bomber Wednesday on January 9 and NYE 2.0 on January 16.

If you have questions, feel free to email me!