Calgary restaurant gives away 500 free meals to offset inventory lost to restrictions
With dine-in service making up about 90 per cent of its business, Eggs Oasis opts to give away extra food
After losing a significant amount of inventory to COVID-19 restrictions, a Calgary restaurant found a way to circumvent food waste this time around.
The staff at Eggs Oasis spent their Sunday giving away 500 free pick-up breakfasts that were prepared with the excess inventory they would have lost when dine-in service came to a halt on Sunday.
And according to owner Noor Sadid, it was a means of preventing history from repeating itself — for a third time.
"The first time this COVID thing happened, it was very sad. We lost quite a significant amount of inventory," Noor said.
"In June, when they wanted us to reopen … in the evening of that day that we bought our inventory, they announced again that they pushed our reopening. So we lost our inventory there, as well."
This time around, Noor had an idea.
"I said, 'No way are we going to lose our inventory. We're going to give back to our community who supported us for all these years.'"
Hopefully things will turn around. I know our government is doing this for the best interest of our population."- Noor Sadid, Eggs Oasis owner
The province announced on Dec. 8 that it would implement sweeping new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
They came into effect on Sunday at 12 a.m., and are expected to be in place for at least four weeks.
The measures include closing bars, pubs and restaurants to dine-in service — though takeout, delivery and curbside pickup are still allowed.
But for establishments like Eggs Oasis, who see the vast majority of revenue from patrons who come in to eat, they must steel themselves for a hard financial blow.
"We lose quite significantly, because 90 per cent of our business is dine-in. Maybe even more," Noor said.
"Christmas is a big month for us, people — they come in and dine-in in groups, with their families to celebrate the occasion … But hopefully things will turn around. I know our government is doing this for the best interest of our population."
The staff at Eggs Oasis are each scheduled one day a week or so, in the kitchen and in the front, Noor said.
That way, they can do some work at least, and the staff will each get some time.
"Unfortunately we will have to lay off quite a good number of them … we're going to rehire them when we reopen," Noor said.
"It is a very, very tough call to see our employees going away, losing their jobs for a few weeks."
In spite of this looming reality, the staff still volunteered their time on Sunday.
"Everybody is here, everybody is helping, everybody is giving their time," said Noor's brother, Khisrow Sadid, who is helping with the restaurant.
"They help us, at the same time, to keep the spirit going. They're all in a good mood, tremendous mood, and you know, we're all here, and we're doing whatever we can to help our community."
- Watch as the meals are handed out in the video below from CBC Calgary Carolyn Dunn's weekend report on Alberta's new restrictions.
With files from Carolyn Dunn and Justin Pennell