May 28, 2020

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King's Head owner keeps staff... to deliver groceries while pub closed

The King's Head owner, Chris Graves, is launching a zero-contact, curbside grocery delivery service out of his Exchange District business. The move is an effort to meet a need in the community and keep its staff employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The King's Head owner, Chris Graves, is launching a zero-contact, curbside grocery delivery service out of his Exchange District business. The move is an effort to meet a need in the community and keep its staff employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

From serving pints to thirsty customers to delivering groceries to hungry ones.

That’s the pivot the King’s Head Pub is making amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in effort to meet a need in the community and keep its staff employed.

Chris Graves, owner of the King’s Head, announced Monday he was launching a zero-contact, curbside grocery delivery service out of his Exchange District business.

"We’ve noticed a need in Winnipeg. Delivery service for groceries are behind. We’re going to try to alleviate some of those needs" Graves said.

The King’s Head was quick to close its doors on March 16 as the pandemic began to take root in Winnipeg.

Graves said closing the day before St. Patrick’s Day — considered a money-maker in the industry — wasn’t an easy decision to make, even as they recognized it was the right thing to do.

"There are many reasons why it was difficult, but we felt we had to do it for the health and safety of our staff.… But when you decide to close before anything is government mandated, there could be a lot of issues with insurance policies," Graves said.

Graves said he and his team began brainstorming immediately on how they could transform their business to keep staff employed throughout the pandemic.

They eventually settled on a curbside grocery delivery service, he said. The company will utilize its connections with food suppliers in the restaurant industry to create grocery packages for families.

"We’re taking product from our suppliers and we’re re-packaging it, properly of course. We’ve had staff trained on COVID-19 and what they need to do… We’re basically going to be packaging it for families of two or families of four," he said.

"We’ll have a set item list people will be getting. What’s most exciting is we’ll be using our own staff for delivering and packaging the product."

Graves said they’ll begin taking orders through the King’s Head website Tuesday. On Wednesday, they’ll begin deliveries.

In total, Graves said he employs 35 staff members and he hopes to keep them all in work throughout the pandemic, if possible.

"We’re going to ride out the pandemic until we can stop serving people groceries to their door and start serving them pints to their tables," he said.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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History

Updated on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT: Updates image

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