St-Hubert

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This article is about the rotisserie chicken restaurant chain. For the borough in the city of Longueuil, see Saint-Hubert, Quebec. For other uses, see Saint-Hubert (disambiguation).
St-Hubert BBQ
Private
Industry Casual dining restaurants
Founded 1951
Headquarters Laval, Quebec, Canada
Products Rotisserie
Chicken, Salads, Ribs
Parent Cara Operations
(2016–present)
Website st-hubert.com

St-Hubert BBQ Ltd is a chain of Canadian casual dining restaurants best known for its rotisserie chicken. St-Hubert once[when?] had a presence throughout eastern Canada, but it now[when?] 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.

In March 2016, St-Hubert agreed to be purchased by Cara Operations, the owner of the rival Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken chain, for $537 million.[1] Cara increased its restaurant presence in Quebec as the St-Hubert chicken deal closed in September 2016.[2]

History[edit]

The first restaurant opened in September 1951 on Saint Hubert Street in Montreal, just south of Beaubien street. The founding family of Hélène et René Léger copied similar barbecue restaurants in the city.[3][4] 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[when?]. The chain enjoys the highest customer loyalty of any restaurant in Canada, aside from Tim Hortons, according to industry analysis.[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.[4]

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 will 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]

Operations[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

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).[16] 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.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swiss Chalet owners Cara buying St-Hubert for $537M – Business – CBC News". Cbc.ca. March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  2. ^ Cara beefs up restaurant presence in Quebec as St-Hubert chicken deal closes | CTV News. Ctvnews.ca (September 2, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-12-24.
  3. ^ (French) Restaurant à Montréal – Centre-Ville – Downtown. St-Hubert. Retrieved on December 24, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "St-Hubert's rise in Quebec – Montreal – CBC News". Cbc.ca. March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Restaurant chain conglomerates forced to 'steal customers' in flat market – Business – CBC News". Cbc.ca. April 2, 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. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ Paddon, David (March 31, 2016). "In rotisserie chicken marriage, owner of Swiss Chalet buys St-Hubert for $537M | Toronto Star". Thestar.com. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Cara announces purchase of St-Hubert – Mar 31, 2016". Cara.investorroom.com. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Cara met la main sur Groupe St-Hubert". Fr.canoe.ca. March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Sale of iconic chicken rotisserie chain ignites passions in Quebec". Rcinet.ca. March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  13. ^ Clements, Alison (October 22, 2013). "St. Hubert's closes its doors in Saint John". News 889. Rogers Media. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ 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. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Find your menu". St-Hubert. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 

External links[edit]