Editor’s note: Listen to Earls’ corporate chef Phil Gallagher discuss plans for sourcing Alberta beef here.

Earls restaurant chain has changed its mind, announcing it will bring back Canadian beef into its restaurants, although the details on how much and how it will work are unclear.

Last week, the company, which opened its first restaurant in Edmonton in 1982, said it was switching to beef labeled as “Certified Humane” from a supplier in Kansas, saying it was unable to source enough beef with the label in Canada. The move drew widespread criticism from the ranching community, politicians and others on social media, even becoming the lead story on national newscasts, as many felt it unfairly implied that beef produced in Canada was not raised humanely.

On Wednesday morning (May 4th), the company issued a statement saying it’s “committed to sourcing as much beef as possible from Alberta” and will work with producers to build a supply of beef that meets their criteria.

“We made a mistake. We should have worked with local ranchers to find product that met our criteria,” said Earls president Mo Jessa. “I assure you that we’re going to do everything in our power to find local ranchers, work with them and get Canadian beef back into Earls and do it quickly.”

“There’s is no question in my mind that Alberta beef and Canadian beef is some of the best beef in the world. If there’s one good thing that has come out of this, it’s that local ranchers are reaching out to us and they’re going to try to help us meet criteria that we need to get that beef onto Earls’ menu. I’m very optimistic that will happen,” he says in a short video.

The restaurant chain hasn’t said whether it will require Canadian producers to enroll in the Certified Humane program.


2 thoughts on “Earls Says “We Made a Mistake”

  1. Hey Shaun – listened to your interview with Earls – I think we are still being had — So the CFIA is not good enough for them for inspecting their meat – They want to bring up an American Company to tell the Ranchers in Alberta whether their good enough – It would of been
    interesting to hear about that process and the cost of being “Humanely Raised Beef” I don’t believe they will not still source beef from the USA and just say they can’t find enough “Certified Humanely Raised Beef” Their giving us a smoke show ……

  2. do I agree with Earls or A& W’s false advertising claims? Absolutely NOT! Unfortunately marketing & advertising is one of those social sciences that easily & often gets blemished in all sectors. We need to understand however that Earls is reacting to the customers that frequent their establishment. Most of them are so far removed from Ag & have a much better grasp of Disney World Vs how we raise our cattle. Here lies the problem. Today food is more than nutrition; also lifestyle. Certain foods become trendy, & some not. Earls is now catering to the natural & humane trend. My point is that whether they want trendy or conventional beef; they still want beef & are still a customer. They still want 2,000,000+lbs of beef yrly. No question, it will take a lot more resources to produce, but someone will supply it. That’s called a free market. Isn’t that what we all want? Unfortunately the new suppliers may not be Canadian.
    My concern is that our industry has not been flexible enough to accommodate this trend. We’ve had a modern packing plant specifically built for niche market beef sitting outside of Calgary for ~10yrs with virtually no output. Why??? …Ask Nenshi, Rockyview Councillors/regulators & the CFIA. I think that’s the real BS. We are barking up the wrong tree my friends.
    Everyone wants to diversify our economy…. really?? My ask is that we redirect our frustrations towards our bumbling beaurocrats & lend Harmony Beef a helping hand so we can enjoy Alberta Beef at all restaurants.

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