Netflix is bringing password sharing to a halt

We all know that one Netflix account that we piggyback off of, the one with the six different profiles all from different households. Well, Netflix is cracking down on password sharing by starting a new feature that aims to prevent users from sharing passwords. This means that you may have to bite the bullet and foot the bill to watch The Office reruns. Many members outside of a household will not be able to share passwords like they usually do. According to a Wired article, this entails that for some accounts to continue using Netflix, there will be a two-factor authorization prompting the owner of the account to enter in a code that is sent to them via text or email.

Netflix can enforce this issue, as it is stated in the terms and conditions that an account is “for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” Because of this, stocks are expected to go up for Netflix, and according to MarketWatch, stocks that were previously worth under $500 per share will likely be worth over $1,000 per share in five years. More accounts mean more money for the company.

So, what does this mean for users? With platforms available for watching favourite television shows, such as Crave, Hayu, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV, this may encourage some users to step away from Netflix and turn to more “user-friendly” options. Some people “will probably stop using it, or still give it to (their families).” says Jolene Milberry in a Facebook comment on a poll about the issue on a page called Edmonton Girls Ask. “I pay for it, so I don’t think (Netflix) should get a choice on what I do with what I’ve paid for,” she says.

Some users are already planning ways to get around the nuisance of two-factor authentication. Kelsey Duthie, a Netflix user, says in a Facebook comment on the same poll, “If I am willingly sharing with my family and friends, I would just give them the verification code it sends me.” 

A basic Netflix account for one device starts at $8.99 per month and offers upgrading options to add more devices. Netflix’s new security tactic may do quite the opposite of encouraging new accounts to open. As a Netflix user myself (and the primary owner of my Netflix account), I will still willingly share my password and account with family members and close friends. This new strategy will not stop users from sharing their accounts, even with the two-factor authorization, simply because it is just as easy to share a code as it is to share a password. Finally, this crackdown on account sharing could cause more harm than good by pushing users to turn to competitive platforms that allow sharing for multiple devices.

Image courtesy of rawpixel.

Food for thought: Mercer Tavern

In January of 2021, Mercer’s Tavern decided to revamp its menu and focus on its new food program. Due to the second shutdown, they have aimed to focus on comfort foods and food that travels well with delivery services such as DoorDash and Skip the Dishes. With to-go orders being in high demand, the new menu has been constructed to ensure that meals will be delivered in a nice fashion. The new menu has been skyrocketing to success for to go and dine in services. “We have served more food than we ever have,” Bryan Schmidt, general manager says.

The new menu was created by Chef Kunal Sawhney, who has worked for various restaurants in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto. His expertise in fine dining has helped inspire the new menu with signature dishes such as house-made chili and mac and cheese. Sawhney has been delighted to share his culinary experience and vision with the Mercer kitchen.

The menu has an extensive selection of dishes including gluten-free and vegetarian options. Some fan favourites are the variety of pizzas, which includes a unique twist on a classic Hawaiian. The Jalapeño Hawaiian pizza is topped with prosciutto and, you guessed it, jalapeños to create a sweet and spicy taste that will keep you coming back for more. Another fan favourite is the corned beef sandwich which is made with a lemon garlic aioli.

The Korean fried cauliflower is a different, healthy take on an appetizer. It is topped with sweet chili sauce and green onion, and is customizable for those who want to try any of the wing sauces with it as well. “It’s ordered by every other person that comes in here, it’s our number one item for sure,” Schmidt says. Finally, macaroni and cheese is deemed as one of the best comfort foods on the menu, which is loaded with crumbled bacon, jalapeño rings, and green onion to create a burst of creamy, spicy, and savoury flavours.

For those who have dietary restrictions, Mercer’s new menu caters to everyone. “Close to 40 per cent of our menu is vege tarian or can be made vegetarian,” Schmidt says. The menu also includes gluten-free options such as the three-bean chili, and chips and queso.

Mercer’s weekly specials include $6 wine, $4 house lager, and red ale happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m. For food specials, Mercer offers a $5 madness bread happy hour special, which is a unique twist on crazy bread. If you are an avid beer drinker, all day every day Mercer has a $5 beer of the day special which will quench your thirst as you try out the new menu.

Mercer has also introduced a new brunch program on Saturday mornings starting at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch items include a breakfast pizza, farm-fresh steak and eggs, and a wide variety of eggs benedict dishes including a savoury salmon, potato and artichoke, and prosciutto options. “I crave it all week long, I can’t wait for brunch on Saturdays,” Schmidt says.

As businesses start to open up and Rogers Place reopens for events, Mercer is a great spot for brunch, happy hour drinks, and event nights. Chef Sawhney promises that the menu will not disappoint and will provide a delicious take on everyone’s favourite dish.

Photos supplied.

Food for thought: Arcadia Brewing

Darren McGeown first knew he wanted to open a brewery when he was sitting in a pub with his parents in Northern Ireland at the age of six. The atmosphere, camaraderie, and community are what inspired him to take his own place in the hospitality industry. Then the idea of Arcadia Brewing was born, and the Arcadia Brewpub was opened in November of 2020.

The unfortunate second wave of the pandemic caused them to close down the same month they opened. McGeown remained optimistic and was ecstatic to open Arcadia’s doors to welcome Edmonton locals once again to share their favourite beer. “I have always loved the sense of community being in a pub,” McGeown says. His Irish background inspired him to start the brewery which took four years to plan. Arcadia features six original craft beers, all sentimentally named. McGeown says, “it gives a sense of pride when creating something.”

McGeown strives to create a unique image and brand of easy drinking beer that even novice beer drinkers will love. One of the most popular beers on tap is The Whistling Pig Hazy Pale Ale. The name is derived from McGeown’s love for The Libertines, an English rock band. “You don’t want to be a cover band your whole life, you want to create your own stuff,” McGeown says. The brewery features local favorites such as the Ruff Riland Road Irish stout, the Cuppa Coffee Kolsch, back to the… West Coast IPA, and the Love Ire & Sour beer, all crafted for easy drinking. One of the most approachable beers is the Coliseum blonde ale, which has a light malt sweetness.

“Everything is accessible and approachable,” McGeown says. The coliseum theme is seen present throughout the brewpub, as McGeown purchased old seats from Rexall Place, and uses them at tables throughout the restaurant. Arcadia Brewing is committed to creating a unique atmosphere where you will see familiar faces. The craft beers can be sold on tap in the house, in cans, or growlers.

Arcadia is not only committed to creating a community, but to giving back to the community as well. McGeown has worked with Boyle Street Community Services for eight years, doing clothing drives and helping raise money for homelessness and poverty in Edmonton. He has created a strong relationship with the Boyle Street community and takes pride in giving back to them. “Arcadia is about building a community in-house, and also outside of my business,” McGeown says.

Arcadia accepts winter clothing donations at the brewery and drives the donations down to Boyle Street on a regular basis. McGeown says he brought in a lot of donations during the first week of the brewery opening and will continue to donate as long as clothing keeps coming in. Even when it starts to get warmer, he is determined to help out. “Even minus eight can be cold when you’re outside all the time,” McGeown says.

In the next 10 years, McGeown plans to expand the community by opening up new locations with different concepts and designs. Arcadia is determined to create a safe space for everyone to come and enjoy a cold craft beer. The brewpub offers curbside pickup for those who are not comfortable going out to restaurants just yet. Arcadia’s goal is to remind you that “there were no good old days, these are the good old days.”

Dry January

With the advent of a new year, comes new year’s resolutions. This often includes a healthier diet, hitting the gym, and “dry January.” Dry January is the commitment to stay abstinent from alcohol for the entire month. For the restaurant and bar industry, dry January and the unprecedented pandemic could leave restaurants struggling financially.

Megan Dean, 25, is the general manager of Hart’s Table and Bar, located in southwest Edmonton. As a former bartender and server, she says that “January traditionally has some of the lowest sales, which I have noticed at multiple different concepts and locations.” In December, the hospitality industry sees a significant peak in liquor sales due to the holidays, followed by individuals taking a step back from drinking in January. 

For Hart’s, this means January is their slowest month for liquor sales. “Of course the pandemic is a whole other entity of curve balls we need to go through,” Dean says. To keep sales consistent with other months, Hart’s has added all of their liquor to their third-party ordering systems such as Doordash and SkipTheDishes in an attempt to move inventory. They have also lowered all of their alcohol prices in an attempt to compete with surrounding liquor stores in the Edmonton area. “This is difficult for us to do,” Dean says. 

Hart’s is also catering to those who are making an effort to avoid drinking as a New Year’s resolution. They offer nonalcoholic beverages such as alcohol-free ginger beer on their takeout menu. “We have done custom non-alcoholic cocktail kits for orders,” Dean says. “We have accommodated people who aren’t drinking and have come up with some fun ideas for them,” Dean says. 

The impact of the pandemic and dry January has affected small restaurants such as Hart’s, but the managers have been creative in their sale strategies. “We have constantly gone back to the drawing board seeing what else we can come up with,” Dean says. Dean’s advice to any restaurant during this time is “that we have to keep fighting. Fighting to prepare for reopening, and fighting for every sale.” 

Her heart goes out to restaurants in the industry that have shut down, and she is grateful for the support Hart’s has received during these difficult times.

Although the restaurant industry has been able to come up with some innovative ideas to keep sales afloat, it may be more difficult for the bar industry. Austin Elgie, 30, is the regional manager for The Pint Public House. Elgie has seen a drop in sales during the first few weeks of January every year for the decade he has spent in the industry. “It’s a combination of everyone getting their Visa statements from Christmas shopping and New Year’s resolutions,” Elgie says. 

The Pint has taken the initiative by selling merchandise, hockey promotions, and “packages” to keep sales up. “We find that trying to give a deal and selling food packages works out for us,” Elgie says. “We are relying on our regulars.” Elgie urges restaurants to get creative with promotions and to support local businesses. 

Although the start of the new year has been difficult for the restaurant and bar industry, local restaurants remain hopeful and optimistic about their future sales in these unusual times.