While the government is expected to announce the reopening of restaurant dining rooms on January 31 or February 8, many restaurateurs fear that this relief will not be enough to ensure their survival.
• Read also: It’s time to give a reopening date
• Read also: Restaurants: help now, not in twelve months
This is what the owner of the Saint-Henri cafes, Sébastien Grenache, said in an interview with LCN. The latter believes that the news of the reopening is awaited by the whole industry, but he adds that the winning conditions must be met to ensure that establishments can avoid bankruptcy.
He mentions in particular the end of compulsory telework as well as the reopening of performance halls and schools, so that restaurants can benefit from stability and access to their customers.
“Will people be able to go to our restaurants? Will people be able to have their children looked after to come?” asks Sébastien Grenache.
The latter adds that repeated closings and reopenings create instability that is difficult for businesses to manage.
“An entrepreneur is not made to reinvent himself every six months. If we look with our financial institutions, we are asked for our five-year plans. There, we are forced to reinvent ourselves every six months!” deplores the owner of the Saint-Henri cafes.
“This wave hurts more”
The owner of the Saint-Henri cafés wants to see the government provide more financial assistance to SMEs in the restaurant industry.
According to him, Quebec must also, as it had done at the start of the pandemic, promote local purchasing and support for neighborhood businesses.
The momentum of solidarity that won Quebec during the first waves is much less felt now, claims Sébastien Grenache.
“We are all tanned, so we are less inclined to spend money or leave home. So this wave hurts more,” he says.
In addition to COVID-19, restaurateurs are dealing with labor and supply shortages, in addition to inflation.
This context greatly complicates the task of SME owners.
“I think we are redefining the word ‘entrepreneurship’. An entrepreneur, before, was someone who wanted to develop his business, who had lots of projects. Today, we wonder more how we manage to survive, ”says Sébastien Grenache.
To see the full interview, watch the video above.