Calgary downturn has some businesses offering discounts

Downturn or not, many Calgarians still want to grab a beer and a burger — have a night on the town. As cash gets tighter, some of our city's restaurants and entertainment venues are coming up with deals and lowering their prices.

'I've never seen a community like Calgary has, where people help each other'

As cash gets tighter, some of our city's restaurants and entertainment venues are coming up with deals and lowering their prices. 1:59

Downturn or not, many Calgarians still want to grab a beer and a burger — have a night on the town.

But cash can be tight these days.

So some of our city's restaurants, pubs, cafes and theatres are trying to lend a helping hand by lowering their prices and offering up deals.

At the Hose and Hound in Inglewood, anyone who's been laid off can get 25 per cent knocked off their bill from 1-3 p.m. on weekdays.  

They say it helps customers, and business.

This is the worst downturn Hose and Hound owner Chuck Rose has seen in 20 years. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"This is what, our third or fourth major recession since we've owned the place. This is the first one that's really hit us," said Chuck Rose, whose owned the pub for 20 years. "We're not doing it as a money maker, we're doing it because we know, I mean, we're suffering too."

Rose says his sales are down between 20-25 per cent, but offering specials helps keep the restaurant busy.

The Hose and Hound Pub offers 25 per cent off the tab to customers who lost their jobs. The idea came from a patron. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"Our regulars are like family to us, so we know what's happening in their life. Every time somebody goes to a job interview, we hear about it. They come here hopeful after a good interview. They come in upset or unhappy after they hear that it didn't go. And right now, they are hearing a lot more that it didn't go then it did."

Downturn deals

And the Hose and Hound isn't the only place lowering prices.

Watchman's Pub and Eatery on 17th Avenue has a new deal.  Everything on the menu is now $7.95 — if you buy a drink. If you go with water, everything is $9.95.

Watchman's Pub and Eatery new owners Grant Cichacki and Ryan Scott decided to offer everything on their menu for $7.95. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Co-owner Grant Cichacki says what with the recent alcohol tax increase, and raise in minimum wage, it's a creative solution.

"We just managed to figure out a way that we can make ends meet and give back to people a little bit because we've all been there where you've got $20 in your pocket but you still want to go out and have a burger with your friends, and have a beer, and still have a bit of a social life."

As well, Cichacki says a lot of people are coming in looking for work.

"We can't give everyone a job but we can give you a place to go — or you can still get out, have a bite to eat and a drink and it's not going to break the bank."

You won't see any price on the menu because everything is the same at Watchman's. It's a way for the owner to keep the place busy while helping those with few money left for entertainment. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Laughing it off

Over at the Rumble House theatre, comedian and Showbots member Michael Roik says artists are used to finding creative ways to budget.

"I think that what improvising can teach us in all this is to accept offers, to be positive, to say yes to go forward. That's such an important lesson right now."

Even if their monthly show Name of the Game is always full, The Showbots decided to offer a $10 discount on door tickets price until further notice. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The Showbots are now offering a $10 discount at the door for the "Name of the Game" show — a monthly event at Rumble House. The discount will continue until "the economic climate in Alberta bounces back."

"We've thought that it would just be an opportunity to those who maybe wouldn't normally come to come out and see the show and give those people some relief. I mean what better then the gift of laughter."

CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads.


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