Swiss Chalet: Always so good but only with the right address?

‘Always so good for so little’ — but only if you live in the right neighbourhood?

That’s the question one Edmonton man is asking after Swiss Chalet refused to deliver his specially-ordered birthday dinner — a rotisserie chicken — to his Alberta Avenue-area home.

“When I tried to order, though, I found out that they’ve red-lined 118 (Avenue) and most of the Alberta Avenue area … they don’t deliver there,” Adam Millie said.

According to the Swiss Chalet website, there are five franchises in Edmonton — three of which are within a couple kilometres of Millie’s home.

When he pushed for an explanation, Millie says he was told Swiss Chalet wouldn’t deliver to anywhere south of 118th Avenue — an area traditionally defined as Edmonton’s inner city, which includes the Alberta Avenue and Boyle McCauley neighbourhoods.

“I guess there’s some problem that I can’t really see with the neighbourhood that Swiss Chalet sees,” Millie said.

But officials with CARA, which owns Swiss Chalet, said their decision not to deliver to Millie’s home has nothing to do with the neighbourhood itself, but with delivery zones.

A spokesman, who did not want to be interviewed on air, told CBC News that delivery zones for each restaurant are set based on anticipated demand and the restaurant’s ability to deliver on time.

After being contacted about this story, CARA asked each of the three franchises near Millie’s home to expand their delivery zone. All three refused.

“It seems bizarre that Swiss Chalet Corporate couldn’t make their franchisees do what’s right, which is to service the entire city,” Millie said.

A ‘black zone’ for services

And the issue goes well beyond just chicken, Millie said.

“This is a major Canadian city that has a large black zone over the downtown — no delivery in, it’s difficult to get cabs, you can’t get conventional banking services there.”

While Millie acknowledged the city has been making efforts in recent years to draw Edmontonians to Alberta Avenue — introducing festivals like Arts on The Ave and the Deep Freeze Festival — many of the changes so far have been merely “window dressing.”

“I have to ask if there’s lingering issues in the neighbourhood that haven’t been resolved by the city?” he said.

“Is policing where it’s supposed to be? If the private sector won’t send their delivery drivers, obviously there must be some form of problem.”

The Alberta Avenue Community League will weigh in on the story on Tuesday.



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