Frank Gunther can’t wait to welcome his fast-food customers back in-doors.
Gunther, an owner of Calgary’s busiest A&W franchise, is looking forward to welcoming his regular customers back for indoor dining this summer.
As per the Government of Alberta’s three stages reopening plan, restaurants can now offer patio dining, and should be able to serve customers indoors by the end of the month.
The opening can’t come too soon for Gunther who own the A&W franchise located at 17th Ave SW.
“We had to close doors and sales dropped by 15 percent,” Gunther said.
“Customer expectations have gone away and people have had to increase cleaning procedures, but now we are excited to reopen everything back.”
It won’t be quite business as usual.
“We will keep using the same safety protocols that we have been using such as lines on the floor, social distancing and making sure that tables are properly distanced,” said Gunther.
He notes that the reopening has already led to a drop off in online orders.
“But seriously I don’t think this is interesting because right now it’s like customers are zero, and we are going to see a surge of 60-70 percent overall.”
The financial hit from the restrictions has been severe.
“We used to make 10 grand a night before COVID-19 and now we only make about $600-$700 a night,” said Jacob Smith, a supervisor at Gunther’s A&W.
“We are going to hire new staff to handle the store rush and keep our speed on service time.”
“And we have just set up the patio and it is a new thing for us. The patio will bring more customer at our restaurant located at 17th Ave SW and also it will help to manage our restaurant rush for dining inside and outside the store.”
As Smith and Gunther set up patio for June 1, they trained their staff to run it because the location has not had a patio before.
The 17th Avenue A&W, like all restaurants, still has to use safety protocols while serving their customers. Meals will be served within the COVID-19 rules.
We had to close doors and sales dropped by 15 percent. – Frank Gunther
Golnaz Zafari, a regular A&W customer at 17th Ave SW is looking forward to dining with friends and family at the restaurant.
“This place is pretty good and it was not as busy the times I was purchasing the stuff, but now all the restrictions are lifted soon so that might increase the wait times as this is the busiest location of A&W and it’s in downtown,” she said.
All the restrictions are expected to be lifted in late June or early July, when 70 percent of Albertans have received at least one dose of vaccination. Currently indoor dining is not permitted and patio dining must be close by 11 p.m.