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Episode 20 – The end game with Marcel Blais, President of Chop Steakhouse & Bar

by Jill | Published February 3, 2021
Marcel Blais,
President Chop Steakhouse & Bar

In this special episode, I talk to the President of Chop Steakhouse and Bar, Marcel Blais.

The Food Careers Podcast is a platform where I interview fascinating people involved in gate to plate aspects of the global food business. I have always admired those involved in making a career out of feeding others. In a future episode I would be thrilled to visit with Marcel about his path to becoming the President of one of the top steakhouse chains in Canada. However, last week we decided to dive into a grave issue facing in-room dinning restaurants across this Nation.

In episode 20, we walk through the most dreaded day of Marcel’s career, March 17th, 2020. The day when he had to layoff all staff across the country except for seven individuals. Over the course of 2020, a roller coaster of unstable challenges faced all locations due to municipal, regional and provincial government mandated restrictions in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Marcel and I have an authentic and vulnerable discussion about how the hospitality industry is being disproportionately affected by lockdown measures and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for this industry awaiting a reopening of the economy.

Marcel believes that in spite of us not knowing how this will end or what comes tomorrow, there is a way through this very difficult time in a healthy and positive way. When faced with the kind of adversity that we are currently seeing, the combination of unwavering faith and open and honest communication, while simultaneously acknowledging the brutal facts will yield a positive outcome. Ultimately, he is optimistic and is sure that the best and most resilient version of Canada will emerge from this crisis.

Ironically, the Premier of Alberta announced the re-opening of in-room dinning during the recording of this episode. This is most certainly a step in the right direction for Albertans, yet there is much work to do in discovering a stable path forward and an agreeable end game.

As I reflect upon this episode, my hope is that various governments will begin rectifying the strategy with the end in mind. As such, more consultation, problem solving with data analysis must be done in collaboration with industries to ensure their viability long-term. This must balance with the benefits and consequences of lockdown measures. Are they safe for society as a whole? Whether it be the local gym, a small diner in a rural town or children’s sports team in a city center. How can we move forward without damaging and potentially destroying society while slowing the spread of the virus?

Have a listen to episode 20 on Spotify and Apple on #foodcareers

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