Five Montreal restaurants announced their closures in less than 24

Five Montreal restaurants announced their closures in less than 24 hours – Le Devoir

Following the three Normand Laprise-led Brasserie T! restaurants, two more Montreal restaurants announced their closures in less than 24 hours. These are the Bistro Beaufort on Plaza Saint-Hubert and the café-boutique Les Malins on Avenue du Mont-Royal.

Is this the start of a massacre? “It won't necessarily be a massacre, but yes, there will be closures,” predicts Martin Vézina, vice-president of public and government affairs at the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ).

These announcements reflect the difficulties experienced by this economic sector at the beginning of the year. Restaurant owners have been struggling since this summer with significant increases in food prices and wages, as well as a decline in foot traffic. Many are still in debt due to efforts to survive the pandemic. According to the ARQ, many of them will need to refinance through their financial institution the $40,000 loan they received through the federal government's Canadian Business Emergency Account, which expires on January 18.

“With the economic slowdown, will restaurants have enough traffic in the coming years to consider repaying this loan? This is a concern for the industry, says Mr. Vézina. With fall somewhat looming and the holiday season perhaps not being in their favor, some restaurateurs will do the math in January and make the decision to close because now is not the time to reinvent themselves. This is a historically low traffic time. »

In the case of the Bistro Beaufort, which had already existed for around ten years, a significant rent increase added to these challenges. “I couldn’t meet my financial obligations,” owner Jean-François Girard, who is going through business and personal bankruptcy, said in an interview.

That meant he lost the $600,000 he said he had invested in renovating the former Reitmans store, where his restaurant was moving in 2022. By December, he hoped to find new investors to stay afloat. “But in the catering industry the prospects are not very encouraging. “Everyone is nervous,” Mr. Girard said a few minutes after handing over the keys to his premises. He expects several more restaurants to close in 2024.

In a Facebook post, the managers of the boutique café Les Malins spoke of the major current challenges facing the catering industry and reiterated that “these are not the case”. [les] didn't save. “On the other hand, the traffic showed that we were responding to a need in the neighborhood: we have not lost hope that an entrepreneur will pick up the torch to continue bringing this unique place to life,” the release said. This café, which offers reading and gourmet sandwiches, is run by Éditions Les Malins. The closure will take place on February 8th.

Both closures were met with great sadness by dozens of customers on social media.

To watch in the video