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Prairie Dog Will Not Reopen for Dine-In on May 14

Prairie Dog Brewing will remain closed for dine-in service beyond May 14, 2020, regardless of the provincial easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.
Click here to see why we aren’t reopening yet.

On May 1, 2020, the Province of Alberta announced that as of May 14th, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service with 50% occupancy restrictions, assuming no major increase in COVID-19 infection rates or other related concerns, commencing phase 1 of a staged plan for the gradual elimination of related restrictions placed on businesses and individuals throughout our province. [Edit: On May 13th, the province further delayed Calgary and Brooks’ phase 1 to May 25, 2020].

Since that announcement, dozens of you have reached out to ask us what we are planning. To be honest, we expected the relaxation of these restrictions to come much later, and along with many of our industry friends, we are very apprehensive about reopening to dine-in services on May 14th. With formally-published guidelines for restaurants only being released on May 11th, and with only two weeks after the public announcement to strategize on what reopening would look like for us, we have decided to remain closed to dine-in services at this time. We feel this is the best call for both our staff and customers, especially after observing the experiences at businesses that have tried to reopen elsewhere, where staff have been verbally abused and even violently attacked by customers while trying to enforce legally-mandated physical distancing, mask use, and other restrictions that remain in place post-reopening.

While the date we reopen for dine-in service is still under discussion, we appreciate your continued support through the takeout and delivery services we currently offer.

Press Release: Prairie Dog Brewpub Closed for Dine-In Service

Effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Prairie Dog Brewing has closed its doors to the public for both dine-in service and takeout/off-sales, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to reopen in late March 2020 as a takeout/delivery operation, only. All dine-in services will be suspended until after the pandemic sufficiently clears.

[UPDATE: We reopened for takeout on March 26, 2020, with new delivery services coming online thereafter]

Unfortunately, this decision required us to temporarily lay off 19 members of our talented staff. We intend to rehire all of these wonderful people when full operations resume at some point in the future.

Please review the following material for more information about why we had to close and what our plans are for takeout and delivery:

  • Brewpub Closure and financial information, including what you can do to help.
  • Our Takeout Menu, which includes information about takeout beer, food and beverages.
  • Our Delivery page, which lists online delivery services that you can use to have our food and beer delivered directly to your home or office.

PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19 PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT

Attention all guests of Prairie Dog Brewing:

We would like to provide some information about how Prairie Dog is responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have been closely monitoring the progression of the disease since December, and have been preparing for several weeks for its eventual presence in Alberta.

We take the health and welfare of our guests and staff extremely seriously, so although the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as “low” in Alberta and across Canada, any guest or staff member that shows signs of illness (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, etc.) will be asked to leave immediately.

At Prairie Dog Brewing, we’ve always maintained a very high standard of cleanliness and sanitation, but to be certain that we aren’t giving this virus any opportunities for transmission, we are taking several additional precautions.

Precautions we have already taken:

  • Validating that our high-temperature dishwashing machines are effective against coronaviruses.
  • Switching our multi-quat sanitizer to a chlorine-based disinfectant that is effective against COVID-19.
  • We’ve increased both the frequency and intensity of sanitizing/disinfection protocols for high-touch surfaces like payment terminals, menus, bathrooms, door knobs, and light switches.
  • We have brought in easy-to-sanitize on-table dispensers that minimize napkin exposure to potential airborne pathogens.
  • We have removed our board games and card games because we cannot thoroughly sanitize them.
  • We have added signage in all bathrooms regarding proper hand washing, and sent an all-staff bulletin with instructions to minimize the risk of transmission at our brewpub.
  • We are closely following Alberta Health Services and World Health Organization bulletins to ensure that we are taking appropriate precautions against disease transmission.

Precautions that will come into effect as of Friday, March 13th:

  • We will no longer be accepting cash (eww germs!) – please bring payment cards.
  • We will no longer be refilling customer growlers on the spot; instead:
    • We will exchange any Prairie Dog-branded growler that we find in suitable condition for one that we’ve already taken the time to thoroughly clean and sanitize, and will fill it with the beer of the customer’s choice at regular off-sale pricing.

Thank you for your support as we continue to monitor this extraordinary pandemic and make changes that support the health and safety of our team, guests and community. Please do what you can do to stay healthy!

For more information, please check out the resources assembled by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce at https://tinyurl.com/rjjsmjo.

  • Thank you from the team at Prairie Dog Brewing

Press Release: Electronic Staff Funds Collection

When Prairie Dog Brewing opened for business in June of 2018, we started with a bold plan to buck the traditions of the restaurant industry. First and foremost, we set out to compensate our staff fairly for their efforts, paying higher base wages and providing health and wellness benefits. Next, we developed an alternative to the archaic and sometimes discriminatory tipping model found at most other restaurants, which we call our Staff Fund.

Our “no tip expected” model has been extremely well received by Calgarians and out of town visitors, but as we anticipated, many guests would still like to provide a monetary reward to our staff as recognition for a great experience. To support our customers’ desire, we opened Prairie Dog Brewing with the option to contribute to our Staff Fund directly by “Buying us a beer” for $5, or by “Giving our brewmaster/pitmaster a high five” for $2, which would be added to the customer’s bill at some point prior to payment. Further, we disabled the tip function on our electronic payment terminals to encourage customers to formally contribute to the Staff Fund as described, and to spur on the conversation about our novel approach. Unfortunately, both our customers and our staff have found it awkward or untimely to broach the subject of the Staff Fund prior to payment. This has led to hundreds — it not thousands — of requests by our customers to find a way to use our electronic merchant terminals to collect Staff Funds, similar to tips.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that as of today, February 10, 2020, we have enabled Staff Funds collection on our merchant terminals. In order to do this, we’ve turned on our merchant terminals’ tip function and provided clear labelling on the machines to indicate that tips are not expected and that all tips on these machines are a contribution to our Staff Fund, as well as placing a new “table talker” card on every table to outline our tipping policy and Staff Fund. 

We have also formalized our method of Staff Funds distribution. We distributed Staff Funds in a somewhat ad-hoc manner in the past, which meant that staff could not be certain of when or how they would receive Staff Funds. From today forward, we’ve committed to paying 75% of Staff Funds collected during each 2-week pay period directly on our employees’ paycheques. Prairie Dog Brewing operates as a team and every player has an important role to play in creating a great guest experience, so all of our employees will be included in this 75% distribution of funds, including our front of house, kitchen, brewery, and administration staff. These funds will be divided equally among the staff per hour that they work during each collection period. We will use the remaining 25% of collected Staff Funds for performance-based bonuses and rewards, as well as staff-driven events/initiatives and other perks.

Unchanged is our commitment to our staff and customers that Staff Funds will be paid out solely to Prairie Dog Brewing employees rather than to our ownership team, and that our employees will continue to receive industry-leading compensation and benefits.

For more information about our Staff Fund and our updated tipping policy, please visit http://tips.prairiedog.beer.

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