Relieved, Quebec restaurateurs learn that they will be able to reopen their dining rooms next Monday. They are now beginning an intensive search for employees to replace those they have lost over the past month.
Mourad Fhal is one of many restaurant owners who have posted job vacancies this week for waiters and cooks. Of the 12 people who made up his team at the L’Évidence bistro before it closed on December 31, 4 will not be returning home.
“There are people who have been there for four or five years,” laments the Plateau Mont-Royal restaurateur.
This third closure in less than two years would have destroyed the faith of many workers in the future of their profession. “This time was worse than the others,” says Fhal.
So far, Mr. Fhal has not received any resumes. The situation is similar to the Monza pizzeria, in the DIX30 district, in Brossard. “Before, we hired waitresses with two or three years of experience. Now, even without experience, we will hire and train them. So we no longer have the same quality of service,” admitted the owner, Alexandre Shamas.
For his part, Benjamin Cadieux, looking for a position in catering, says he received in one day a dozen messages from restaurateurs ready to recruit him. Some offered him a job without even asking for his resume or meeting him. “It just goes to show how desperate some owners are for employees,” he said. I will make my choice based on the location and ambiance of the restaurant. »
Video: Quebec announces further tightening of sanitary measures (Le Devoir)
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The restaurateurs, however, are very happy to revive their dining room. According to the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ), this gradual relaxation, at 50% capacity and restricted to four people or two bubbles, is acceptable.
“We are happy to have the news almost a week in advance, which allows us to organize ourselves a little better, compared to an announcement made 24 or 48 hours earlier, as in the past”, indicated Philippe Robert, manager of Limoges 67 Steakhouse, in Terrebonne.
They will be able to accommodate couples on Valentine’s Day. “We started taking the first reservations for Saturday 12 [février]. It’s a very busy weekend,” rejoiced Richard Bastien, co-owner of Leméac and Monarque gourmet restaurants in Montreal.
The owner of the L’Entre2 bistro, Dominic Marcheterre, breathed a huge sigh of relief on Tuesday. For his business to survive the month of January, he was able to benefit from the generosity of his landlord with regard to rent. He also had to sell his car to get cash.
It must be said that the take-out menu of a large number of restaurateurs has not been a satisfactory success. “Our take-out orders were half as popular as during the previous closure (October 2020 to May 2021),” said Philippe Robert. Restaurant owners believe it would be unacceptable to close restaurants again. “We have to find other solutions, we have to think about how to manage our hospital capacity without closing the dining rooms as soon as the health situation becomes critical,” said ARQ vice-president of public affairs, Martin Vézina. There has already been a lot of desperation, another closure would be catastrophic. »
As for nightclubs and bars that do not offer cooked food, the Nouvelle Association des bars du Québec would like the government to announce their reopening on February 10. These establishments could thus benefit from assistance for businesses in regions on high alert in February and March. They could also be open for the Super Bowl, the high mass of American football.