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St-Hubert BBQ
Private (1951-2016)
Subsidiary (2016-present)
IndustryCasual dining restaurants
Founded1951; 69 years ago (1951)
Chicken, Salads, Ribs
ParentRecipe Unlimited

St-Hubert BBQ Ltd is a chain of Canadian casual dining restaurants best known for its rotisserie chicken. St-Hubert is most popular in Quebec, and in other French-Canadian areas such as Eastern Ontario (Ottawa, Cornwall, Rockland and Hawkesbury), and New Brunswick (Edmundston, Bathurst, Moncton and Fredericton). St-Hubert is the 16th largest restaurant chain operating in Canada. The chain enjoys the highest customer loyalty of any restaurant in Canada, aside from Tim Hortons, according to industry analysis.[1]

In March 2016, St-Hubert agreed to be purchased by Toronto-area based Cara Operations (now known as Recipe Unlimited), the owner of the rival Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken chain, for $537 million.[2] Cara increased its restaurant presence in Quebec as the St-Hubert chicken deal closed in September 2016.[3]


The first restaurant opened in September 1951 on Saint Hubert Street in Montreal, just south of Beaubien street. This branch still operates today, but has been converted to a St-Hubert Express take-out restaurant. The founding family of Hélène and René Léger copied similar barbecue restaurants in the city.[4][5]

The original St-Hubert Chicken mascot was created and designed by Disney animator Jack Dunham.[6][7] Dunham also produced St-Hubert's first television commercials.[7] 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 known for its ability to serve its customers in French, as most of its clients were French Canadians, which motivated the employers of their own accord to seek French-speaking employees. The location closed down sometime in the 1990s.

A St-Hubert Express restaurant.

A longtime purveyor of Pepsi products, St-Hubert switched to Coca-Cola products in the early 2000s.

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.[5]

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.[8] It has since recanted in the aftermath of Quebec's reasonable accommodation debate.[improper synthesis?]

On March 31, 2016, Ontario-based Cara Operations, owner of the Swiss Chalet chain of rotisserie chicken restaurants, announced that it would acquire St-Hubert in the summer of 2016 for CAD$537 million.[9][10] La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) had presented an offer to acquire a minority share in St-Hubert, but was subsequently declined.[11] Léger sought buyers within Quebec, but did not encounter any companies he was comfortable selling to.[12] The sale was completed on September 2, 2016.[13]


A St-Hubert restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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.[14] locations were in Halifax Nova Scotia & 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.[15]

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.[16]

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).[17] 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.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Restaurant chain conglomerates forced to 'steal customers' in flat market – Business – CBC News". April 2, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Swiss Chalet owners Cara buying St-Hubert for $537M – Business – CBC News". March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Cara beefs up restaurant presence in Quebec as St-Hubert chicken deal closes | CTV News. (September 2, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-12-24.
  4. ^ (in French) Restaurant à Montréal – Centre-Ville – Downtown. St-Hubert. Retrieved on December 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "St-Hubert's rise in Quebec – Montreal – CBC News". March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Parent, Tim (April 6, 2009). "Disney animator, creater of St. Hubert BBQ rooster, has died". CJAD. Retrieved April 16, 2009.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Disney, Lantz animator Jack Dunham dies at 98". Cartoon Brew. Big Cartoon Forum. April 5, 2009. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Paddon, David (March 31, 2016). "In rotisserie chicken marriage, owner of Swiss Chalet buys St-Hubert for $537M | Toronto Star". Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Cara announces purchase of St-Hubert – Mar 31, 2016". Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  11. ^ "Cara met la main sur Groupe St-Hubert". March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Sale of iconic chicken rotisserie chain ignites passions in Quebec". March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  13. ^ "Cara completes acquisition of St-Hubert". September 2, 2016.
  14. ^ Clements, Alison (October 22, 2013). "St. Hubert's closes its doors in Saint John". News 889. Rogers Media. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  15. ^ Brousseau-Pouliot, Vincent (May 14, 2007). "Le PDG de St-Hubert répond aux questions des lecteurs" [St-Hubert CEO responds to questions from readers] (in French). La Presse. Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Find your menu". St-Hubert. Retrieved July 29, 2016.

External links[edit]