The one who fed the biggest international stars passing through Quebec and whose catering service had become a real institution hangs his apron. Heavy financial losses and uncertainty about a possible resumption of business forced the owner of Traiteur Lionel Riverin to close the door.
After 35 years behind the stoves of the company he acquired in 1985, it is time to “pull the plug”, notes chef and owner Jean Picard, in an interview with Newspaper, as he prepares to serve his last meals in his business in the 8e Rue, in Limoilou.
“My turnover has gone from around $ 42,000, $ 50,000 per month to around $ 1,000 or $ 1,500. With all the fees to be paid per month, there is a growing hole. ”
Most of his contracts fell through. Senior clubs, special events and hotels he did business with could no longer place orders. And the uncertainty surrounding a possible recovery does not delight him.
” I do not see myself [continuer] for the next two or three years before things get back to normal, ”admits the man who didn’t count the hours at work and said he had already spent“ 365 days without leave, ”when things were better.
He would like to add that “the career he had” is due to the “good work of his employees”, including his wife.
Despite the good memories, Chef Picard can’t help but express sadness at the idea of closing his business. He is also worried about other caterer owners, for whom times are tough.
“Caterers who do weddings, events and cocktail dinners, there are many who will disappear. We don’t know what will happen next. In addition, we have had a shortage of employees for 10 years, if not 15. “
Dave Dombrowski, owner of Buffet St-Émile for 30 years, makes the same observation. Many caterers will not get through the crisis.
“We went from 22 to 4 employees. […] I lost 85 to 90% of my contracts, ”he explains.
” It will hurt. I know very well that caterers are going to pass through December and then they will close. This is the reality. You can’t keep a business that isn’t running. “
The two men would like people who treat themselves to take out orders in restaurants to encourage caterers as well.
Well known in Quebec, the catering service has also delighted the biggest stars on the planet. Metallica, Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, David Bowie and Céline Dion, in particular, were able to appreciate his cuisine.
“I had been knocking on the door of promoter Michel Brazeau to offer him my services. A month later he called me and I started [dans] show business with him. The adventure lasted for about 30 years, ”he recalls.