Pasquale Vari, a teaching chef at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ), needs no introduction. This popular judge on the Radio-Canada show “Les Chefs!” is now an entrepreneur as well, with a new line of gourmet products and sauces that has just arrived in grocery stores.
Vari has been working in this creative, competitive industry ever since he earned two diplomas from the ITHQ after moving to Canada in 1985. According to this great chef, the challenges of the past 15 months have pushed restaurateurs to get better organized and refine their products, notably by diversifying.
THE RESTAURANT OF TOMORROW
Restaurant owners who have set up grocery counters to sell fine foods and ready-to-serve meals have made a business decision they will not regret; Vari believes this model will endure.
“The restaurant of tomorrow must offer clients multiple options. Let’s face it, some evenings, we simply might not want to spend several hours sitting in a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel like having a meal from our favourite eatery. Restaurants that offer these two options benefit both themselves and their customers. Everybody wins.”
PERFECTION OR NOTHING
According to Vari, the watchword for restaurants in the future is perfection—nothing less.
He notes that Quebecers who dine out have very high expectations. They want a flawless experience, with a variety of options so they can find exactly what they want, be it takeout meals, fine foods from a grocery counter, or a full dining room experience, and everything must be up to the required standard.
“Clients who go out for a nice evening in a restaurant have high expectations, but the majority are ready to sacrifice a little on food quality if they like the ambience. Service quality is very important to Quebecers. The service must be perfect, just like the decor, lighting, and music. In short, the overall experience must be impeccable.”
The restaurant owners who are going to survive the pandemic and thrive during the recovery will be those who pay attention to detail and think of everything. However, he explains, “This is not something that one can teach, even at the ITHQ!”
In the end, concludes Vari, the art of hospitality is nothing less than learning to please everybody. “This is actually kind of what happened last year, but let’s hope that this attitude persists and becomes even more prevalent, regardless of the situation or circumstances.”