Restaurant relaunch: Calgary business owners are happy to be back

Customers and staff are equally excited to get back after Mondays restaurant reopening

Owner of Trolley 5 Brewpub wearing his mask and socializing with returning customers. May 27, 2020 / ISAIAH LINDO FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Windsor Rose pub re-opened its doors on Monday and were thrilled to see some regulars back on their patio. 

“Our customers were very appreciative, our regulars were all here,” said co-owner George Kaketsis. 

He said it’s been hard not having a presence in the community, delivery and takeout only does so much. 

Windsor Rose has been doing curbside service and delivery, but it’s been tough on the restaurant. 

“It’s not enough to sustain a business; we’ve had to pay our employees and our rent,” said Kaketsis. 

Some bumps along the road

In early May, the Alberta government announced its relaunch strategy stating that restaurants would be able to reopen at 50 per cent capacity. 

The day before phase one was set to start, Premier Jason Kenny announced that Calgary and Brooks would have to wait until May 25 to reopen.

Windsor Rose was one of many restaurants affected by the last-minute cancelation for phase one of reopening.

Kaketsis said everything had been prepped, everyone was excited to open and then they were forced to discard everything. 

Ernie Tsu, owner of Trolley 5 brewpub said they weren’t affected by the last-minute change but know a lot of people who had invested their money into reopening.

Safety is still a top priority

Nathan Moore, general manager at Local next to their unique hand sanitizer on May 27, 2020. MADASYN KOST / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Since reopening on Monday, Tsu said the pub has been quite busy with happy customers. 

“It’s been great. Customers are very happy with the safety protocols that we have in place,” he said.

Tsu said they will be making sure customers practice physical distancing for the safety of everyone. 

“It’s about ensuring that they are keeping everyone else safe,” he said. 

Kaketsis said adjusting to all the new regulations has been a challenge. 

“All these extra measures that we’re taking it’s definitely tough to change the way we do things completely,” he said. 

Nathan Moore, general manager at Local said they did a lot to prepare for reopening.

“Myself and my team spent countless hours sifting through the fine details of just like what could happen, role-playing different scenarios,” he said.

“It’s exciting to get people back in, but the most important thing right now is safety.”

The changes are still happening

With the option of pickup and delivery, some businesses have had to adjust their staff.

Kaketsis said he can only offer full-time staff hours but as soon as things get back to normal he’ll be bringing everyone back. 

Tsu said they’ve been fortunate enough to keep all their staff and it’s clear they want to be there.

“Everybody wanted to come back so we have everyone back in place,” he said.

Patio goers enjoying the sun on Local’s updated patio on May 27, 2020. MADASYN KOST / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Moore said they didn’t lose any staff due to fear of safety. They’ve actually needed more staff on deck to help keep things running smoothly and safely.

“If anything, I’d say I need more people at 50 per cent capacity than I did than when we were full,” he said.

We’re currently into day three of Calgary’s restaurants reopening and Moore said today’s the busiest so far.

He said he’s excited and optimistic about the future and sees the same feeling in his customers.

“You can feel it, it’s tangible that energy, it’s real. People are starting to stretch their legs out a little bit,” he said.

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