While the Saturday and Sunday performances of the Festival Québec (FEQ) are sold out, it will be mainly local tourists, but also Ontario, who keep Grande Allée restaurants rolling.
• Read also: Veterans are generous with their memories
“The festival has brought in people, but we can see that there have been a lot of tourists since June 24. Stéphane Lapointe, restaurant manager at Rôtisserie St-Hubert Grande Allée, notes a lot of people from Montreal and the regions,” east and west.
“Tourists seem to be invading Quebec City, you can feel it,” he continues, adding that at least a third of his customers these days come from Ontario.
If international visitors aren’t on time, Ontarians have been more present in recent weeks, other restaurant owners confirmed. Since they reopened the borders, we’ve had a lot of English speakers. It’s fun, and it’s good to see tourists in town again,” notes Philippe Desrosiers, owner of the Lennox brewery.
weather and weather
This year, the armory can seat 500 people per performer at the festival. “Our tickets found buyers quickly when they went on sale on the first two,” said Samantha McKinley, FEQ’s director of communications.
Alexendre Morillon-Lévesque of Faite à l’os points out that “in the daytime, there are more people since the summer festival.”
“For me, it’s another performance hall,” says Stéphane Lapointe, FEQ, unsure of the impact on attendees. On Saturday evening, St-Hubert was full: about twenty customers had gone to see a show earlier. Also on Sundays, festival-goers were among the customers, even if they weren’t the majority.
According to Mr. Lapointe, many clients go to Grande Allée for the atmosphere above all, festival or not.
“Things are definitely moving, and temperature has something to do with it,” notes Normandy Ducet, owner of Tabagie Grande Allée.
“When the weather is nice, there are people,” says Abdelmalouki, owner of Al Wadi Restaurant. “On the weekends, we feel that there are more people than usual. The week has been quiet so far.”
Like other restaurants Mr. Royal has met, he believes the FEQ Limited formula will have little impact on traffic.
However, all highlighted the headache of understaffing, a situation exacerbated by the emergency financial aid paid out during the pandemic, they said. While they usually receive resumes from young adults and students in the summer, the latter are rare.
“They’d rather get another $2,000 a month to stay home,” Lapointe laments. One who has worked in the restaurant business for 35 years describes the labor shortage as the “worst challenge” of his career. It also salutes the dedication of its employees who work 6 or 7 consecutive days.
It’s an “exceptional” setting, according to Normandy Ducet, who has run the tobacco shop for nearly fifteen years. “I’m here this Sunday and working for 7 days,” she says, to illustrate the hiring difficulties. “It’s the advantage of the Canadian Economic Stimulus (PCRE)!”
According to Alexendre Morillon-Lévesque, staffing difficulties affect both the service and the kitchen. If finding divers has always been a difficult task, now it’s “impossible.”