An owner of a “bring your own wine” Italian restaurant from Anjou about to open a second restaurant in Repentigny had to close during the health crisis after the death of his father.
• Read also: More than 800 restaurants have closed for good in the last year in Quebec
“With the death of my father last January, the COVID-19, and all that increases, we decided to close rather than stay open and accumulate debts”, confides to the Log Antoine Jospeh Zammit, former owner of the Pasta Presto restaurant in Anjou.
“It’s hard to be profitable with only take-out meals. In catering, we are talking about 3% to 5% profits, it was hard, ”sighs the man. Like him, nearly 20% of restaurants have closed in Quebec since the pandemic, or more than 3,800 out of 22,730, including 839 over the past year.
Like his father, Antoine Jospeh Zammit embarked on the restaurant business in his mid-twenties to follow in his footsteps.
In 2019, it was with her help that he opened the Italian restaurant Pasta Presto in the borough of Anjou. Unfortunately for him, a few months later, the pandemic came to play spoilsport.
No more birthdays, large groups, family reunions that came to color his dining room.
“We go to an Italian restaurant for the atmosphere, so when we start doing take-out, it doesn’t work that much,” he says.
To make matters worse, his loyal clientele, often over 65, avoids his dining room overnight. This is his coup de grace. When asked why he hung up his apron, the former owner of Pasta Presto insists: you have to be “logical in business”. No question for him to continue his activities if it is to go straight into the wall.
“We can’t just go on because we’re in love. If there is COVID-19, it is better to take a step back and see in four or five years, ”explains the man in his thirties patiently.
With studies in finance, Antoine Jospeh Zammit does not rule out going to work in the banking world, even if his heart is still in the kitchen.
“We will dream. We’ll wait for it to calm down. We will continue. We’re not going to give up,” he said.
“I imagine it will go back to normal. At the very least, I hope so,” he concludes.
Since the start of the pandemic, 2,428 full-service restaurants, 669 limited-service, 540 special catering and 29 bars have closed, for a total of 3,666, according to the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ).
- City : Anjou
- Years of existence: 2
- Affected employees: 5
- Owner : Antoine Joseph Zammit