Calgary gets ready to open a new restaurant where everyone is an owner

Click to play video: 'What’s on the menu? A new co-operatively owned-and-run eatery'
What’s on the menu? A new co-operatively owned-and-run eatery
WATCH: Calgary is about to get a new restaurant, with a twist. Tomasia DaSilva reports on why owners say it makes sense in today's economy – Jul 26, 2019

A new Calgary restaurant is getting set to open its doors in just over a week, and there’s something new on the menu.

The Allium on 12 Avenue S.W. will feature not just one, but many owners.

“We’re all employee-owned and operated,” one of the founders Jared Blustein said.

Everyone that works at the self-professed elevated vegetable-forward restaurant is either a permanent owner or a probationary one.

Currently, there are 12 of them in all.

“Our real goal — and I think this is attainable — is no bosses,” Blustein said. “We don’t want to hire anyone, we don’t want to be the boss of anyone.”

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Blustein said the idea of an eatery collectively run by a team of co-owners just makes sense.

“This is really the way that working-class people can come together, pool their resources, pool their talents and start a business,” he added.

Sprucing up a new co-operative restaurant in Calgary. Tomasia DaSilva

Talent-wise, the crew has years of experience between them, from top-notch chef experience to managing non-profits.

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Money-wise, the permanent owners each pitched in $5,000. Probationary owners will do the same if both parties feel they’re a fit after six months.

LISTEN BELOW: Jared Blustein joins the Ryan Jespersen Show

One of those checking out the waters is Alex Hamilton.

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“We get our feet wet and make sure it’s good for all sides,” he said.

The chef of more than 20 years said he likes the thought of being his own boss.

“Being able to make decisions and be empowered to do so has really just drawn me into this,” Hamilton added.

Still, Blustein acknowledges there are challenges with having 12 owners and no bosses. In a normal workplace, if something isn’t working the employee can be let go.

Blustein said in this case, there will be no ending relationships, just mending them. But he’s confident they can work any issues out.

“We are all invested in every step of the way,” he said. “Both financially and emotionally.”

The young entrepreneur added worker co-operatives aren’t a new idea, rather a very old one and a piece of Canadian and provincial history.

He hopes it will once again gain in popularity, for the benefit of workers and local economies.

“We’re all from this area, we’re all situated here,” he said. “This isn’t money that is going to some franchise outside of Calgary or Canada.”

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Allium is expected to open August 7.

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