We live in a time when owning and operating a restaurant requires a lot of know-how and creativity. Restaurants with the best concepts and restaurateurs who constantly work to maintain their quality standards and reinvent themselves will always be extremely popular.
But what makes a restaurant stand out? What’s the difference between a restaurant that gets rave reviews and one that doesn’t? Several factors come into play; the recipe for success is far from universal. Although food quality is critical, customer experience and friendly atmospheres have never been so important when it comes to choosing the next gourmet outing. Restaurants have become much more than just places to eat; they are experiences that within our lifestyles. We choose a restaurant because we eat well and like the place. We visit a restaurant time and gain thanks to a friendly staff the vibe we feel when we enjoy a delicious meal.
A recent trend in restaurant? Chefs gaining more exposure than “just” working in their kitchens. They meet and greet their customers. They keep their brands alive outside of their establishments. Alongside their flagship restaurants, chefs create pop-up concepts, counters, catering services, gourmet shops, food trucks, etc. to keep their brands humming on as many platforms as possible.
Chef Martin Juneau, who is a well-known chef thanks to his many television appearances, operates his restaurant, Le Pastaga, as well as a food truck called Monsieur Crémeux, a wine bar called Le Cul Sec, a gourmet grocery store called Le Petit Coin, and, more recently, a counter in Rockland’s new food court called Le Pastaga Boutique.
"Certainly, from a restaurant business perspective, people always have to be thinking about your establishment. Having good visibility is important for a brand. But it’s even more critical for restaurants. All advertising is good," said Mr. Juneau.
Chef Jérôme Ferrer agrees. As the owner of Europea, he also operates the Chez Jerry food truck, La Boîte du Chef and Jerry, aterroir snack bar at Rockland.
If chefs are stepping out of their establishments more frequently in 2019, it’s mainly to remain on top of mind and relevant. Today’s restaurant must be managed like a brand that needs to be recognized and remembered.
“Embarking on a project like the one at Rockland made sense for us,” explained Mr. Juneau. “People are still discovering Pastaga, even if we’ve been open for 7 years. La Boutique is another way to get people to explore our take on food. The setting may be different, but you must satisfy your customers and give them a lasting impression—no matter where you are. We always aim to satisfy customers so that they think of us the next time they are looking for a restaurant.”
Chefs Juneau and Ferrer both manage, in addition to their many restaurants and concepts, permanent gourmet counters in La Cuisine, a new gourmet space located on the top floor of the Rockland. Stop by and see them during your next visit.