|Industry||Casual dining restaurants|
|Headquarters||Laval, Quebec, Canada|
Chicken, Salads, Ribs
|Parent||Cara Operations Limited|
St-Hubert BBQ Ltd is a privately held chain of Canadian casual dining restaurants best known for its rotisserie chicken. St-Hubert once had a presence throughout eastern Canada, but it now has few locations outside its home province of Quebec, where it remains a dominant chain. Other locations are found in Ottawa, Cornwall, Rockland and Hawkesbury in Ontario, and Edmundston, Bathurst, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick. St-Hubert is the 16th largest restaurant chain operating in Canada.
The first restaurant opened in 1951 on Saint Hubert Street in Montreal, just south of Beaubien street. The founding family copied similar barbecue restaurants in that city. This branch still operates today, but has been converted to a St-Hubert Express take-out restaurant. The company website claims its free home delivery was a first in Canada.
By the 1970s, St-Hubert had become the major restaurant chain it is today. The chain enjoys the highest customer loyalty of any restaurant in Canada, excepting Tim Hortons, according to industry analysis.
The original St-Hubert Chicken mascot was created and designed by Disney animator Jack Dunham. Dunham also produced St-Hubert's first television commercials. However the current St-Hubert mascot, which has been in use since the early 1970s, was not created by Dunham.
St. Hubert also opened a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the 1970s, serving Canadians who spent their vacations in southern Florida. The restaurant was also known for being able to serve its customers in French, as most of the clients were French-speaking Canadians and this motivated the employers of their own accord to seek French-speaking employees. The location closed down sometime in the 1990s.
In 2005, St-Hubert voluntarily became the first restaurant chain in Quebec to ban smoking inside its restaurants. This was one year before the province of Quebec made it mandatory.
St-Hubert's president was quoted in a Postmedia News article in October 2011 as saying that the company was considering adding halal and kosher products. It has since recanted in the aftermath of Quebec's reasonable accommodation reaction.[improper synthesis?]
On March 31, 2016, Ontario-based Cara Operations, owner of the Swiss Chalet chain of rotisserie chicken restaurants, announced that it will acquire St-Hubert in the summer of 2016 for CAD$537 million. La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) had presented an offer to acquire a minority share in St-Hubert, but was declined. Léger sought buyers within Quebec, but did not encounter any companies he was comfortable selling to.
St-Hubert's service area has little overlap with the similar Swiss Chalet chain, which exited the Quebec market in the early 2000s, although there was no agreement between the chains. Following the closure or rebranding (as independent restaurants) of St-Hubert's remaining Toronto area locations over the following few years, the chains now only overlap in the Ottawa area, and in Moncton and Fredericton, New Brunswick. Restaurants in the Saint John, New Brunswick, area closed in 2013. A location in St. John's, Newfoundland also existed, but was closed around the late 1980s-early 1990s. However, in a 2007 interview with La Presse, St-Hubert CEO Jean-Pierre Léger suggested that the company was considering re-entering other eastern Canadian markets.
In January 2011, St-Hubert announced that its expansion plans included the opening of three Toronto area locations of the St-Hubert Express concept. It was also considering entering markets outside Canada. At around the same time, the company briefly re-entered the Kingston marketplace with a St. Hubert Express, which closed about a year after opening.
The St-Hubert locations operate as full-service restaurants, resto-bars, and 'St-Hubert Express' locations (closer in style to fast food restaurants, also with take-out, drive-thru and delivery). The bright yellow cars delivering food have carried the slogan "Putt-Putt Ding-Ding".
St-Hubert began selling its gravy in supermarkets across Quebec in 1965. The company also sells its barbecue sauce in the ready-to-serve format, desserts, seasonings, and frozen chicken in supermarkets.
- Parent, Tim (2009-04-06). "Disney animator, creater of St. Hubert BBQ rooster, has died". CJAD. Retrieved 2009-04-16.[dead link]
- "Disney, Lantz animator Jack Dunham dies at 98". Cartoon Brew (Big Cartoon Forum). 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Cara New release March 31, 2016
- Clements, Alison (October 22, 2013). "St. Hubert's closes its doors in Saint John". News 889 (Rogers Media). Retrieved July 6, 2014.
- Brousseau-Pouliot, Vincent (2007-05-14). "Le PDG de St-Hubert répond aux questions des lecteurs" [St-Hubert CEO responds to questions from readers] (in French). La Presse. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
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