La Cage spreads its wings… in France

In 2030, will France beat Quebec by winning the prize for the place with the greatest number of La Cage – Brasserie sportive restaurants on its territory? At least that’s the plan that French business people who work with the Quebec chain want to follow.




England and Portugal also seem to have an appetite for chicken wings and the blitz burger from the sports brasserie founded 40 years ago.

This statement about the number of establishments in France which would surpass La Belle Province, Jean Bédard, big boss of the Grandio Group – which notably manages La Cage – hears it “often” from the mouth of his partner wishing to develop the brand in the hexagon. To this, Mr. Bédard responds on the line: “We’ll see. It’s too early to set goals. »

However, he recognizes that there is a lot of appetite for this concept where giant screens and popcorn are king and master.

After the opening of a first branch on French soil, in Bordeaux, in June 2023, in partnership with François Bultel, founder of Boulangerie Ange, he does not hide the fact that interest is growing. For the moment, the count is 38 restaurants compared to 1… for Quebec.

As the chain celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, Mr. Bédard – at the head of the company since 1995 – wants “ slap a little” by abandoning operations to focus more on international development.

France, where a second restaurant will be opened by the end of the year, however, risks not having exclusivity since “serious groups” from England and Portugal also seem to wish to import the concept to their home countries. , he says. “I don’t understand what’s happening,” says Jean Bédard.

However, anyone who wanted to slow down the pace risks ultimately being very busy because of these foot calls, he admits. Mr. Bédard is flying to Europe next week “to shake things up a little”.

He also wants to be better “equipped” on the other side of the Atlantic. “It’s going to take someone to take care of the development there. »

But how can we explain such European enthusiasm for this 100% Quebec concept?

PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Jean Bédard, President and CEO of Groupe Grandio

In Europe, there are no such cases. They have more small pubs. I think we’re better than we think.

Jean Bédard, President and CEO of Groupe Grandio

Do not look for a translation for La Cage – Brasserie sportive in English or Portuguese, as the name will remain the same. Just as they have preserved American company names such as Burger King, Europeans “want to keep the entire brand”.

Moreover, on the French site of La Cage, we can read many expressions with Quebecois sauce such as “tie your tuque” or “pull yourself a log”. We even praise the merits of chicken wings: “it’s like wingsbut better.”

“I think it’s sexy, the fact that it’s from Quebec,” mentions Mr. Bédard with a smile in his voice.

The future

In addition to international expansion, Jean Bédard is thinking about his future and that of the Grandio Group, founded in June 2022 with more than fifty restaurant branches, including La Cage, le Cochon dingue and Moishes. In five years, the 60-year-old intends to give up his place at the head of the Group… but he won’t be far away. “I don’t want to be a nuisance.” But I might stay around the company for a long time. I have a great succession. My two sons work in the company. It’s a beautiful baby that I want to keep in Quebec. »

He has already decided to abandon operations and no longer holds the presidency of La Cage. A passage full of emotion. “I have to move from La Cage to Grandio,” says the man who first became a franchisee in 1989. Until recently, I had two email addresses and I still used the lacage.ca one. I don’t know why,” he says, laughing.

Mr. Bédard finally managed to cut the cord by relying solely on his Grandio Group address.

As for the future of catering, the businessman recognizes that the coming months will be difficult. Already, since the start of the year, several owners have announced the closure of their establishment.

While he recognizes that customers are still flocking to La Cage – a new branch will soon open on Laurier Boulevard in Quebec City – other Grandio Group brands are having more difficulties.

For the industry as a whole, in addition to restaurateurs who are struggling, he fears that some owners who have been established for a long time and for whom business is going well will still decide to throw in the towel due to exhaustion. “It’s going to happen because it’s tough. »

Therefore, caution will be required this year. ” Be careful. You have to count, you don’t have to get upset. It won’t be easy for anyone. »

And to make an analogy with golf, he adds: “We’re playing on a narrow course, it’s not the time to try new clubs. You have to keep your eye on the ball and hit it in the middle. »

La Cage in brief

  • First branch: September 1984
  • Number of restaurants in Quebec: 38 (and one in France)
  • Part of the Grandio Group, formed in 2022
  • President and CEO of Groupe Grandio: Jean Bédard
  • Number of establishments managed by Grandio: more than fifty La Cage, Cochon Dingue, Lapin Sauté, Ciel!, Paris Grill, Café du Monde, JaJa, Madame Chose, Chez Lionel – French Brasserie, IRU Izakaya, Moishes
  • Head office: Boucherville


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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