Canadian restaurant chain starts selling groceries amid coronavirus shutdown

As the COVID-19 pandemic hammers Canada’s restaurant industry, one Vancouver-based chain is getting creative to keep customers coming in the door.

Earls Kitchen and Bar, which operates 68 restaurants in Canada and the U.S., is now selling groceries, both for pickup or delivery.

The company is selling a variety of grocery bundles, ranging from $30 to $99, including dairy and eggs, produce, pantry items and meat.

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It is also selling a-la-carte items such as flour, coffee and toilet paper.

The restaurant is pitching the initiative as a way to avoid line-ups at grocery stores, which have taken to limiting the number of customers allowed to shop at once during the pandemic.

Restaurants across Canada have been ordered to cease dine-in service through a variety of provincial and municipal public health orders and state of emergency declarations.

Many restaurants, including Earls, have been aggressively promoting take-out options.

But the move has left many businesses with heavily reduced cash flow, while rent and fixed costs continue to pile up.

In B.C., the industry association representing restaurants estimates that 15 per cent of its membership could be forced to close for good due to the pandemic.

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