Behind every St-Hubert franchise lies a typical family with a history oftheir own. In three Montreal restaurants, that family is formed by Jean-François Benoît and Karine Duval. A team both at work and in life, this franchisee/manager duo met at the Windsor train station rotisserie.
Jean-François Benoît and Karine Duval never planned on turning their jobs at St-Hubert into a career. And yet, both now count more than 20 years of experience working for the company. They are now managers of the restaurants in Viau (Karine) and Verdun (Jean-François). As if that weren’t enough, Jean-François is also the franchisee of three St-Hubert Express locations in Verdun, Viau, and Pointe-aux-Trembles.
Jean-François's adventure within the St-Hubert family began 26 years ago. At the time, he was working as a dishwasher for the Shawinigan rotisserie before moving to Drummondville for an assistant manager position at the Saint-Joseph rotisserie. Later, he bought the rotisseries in Viau, Verdun, and finally Pointe-aux-Trembles. Karine, for her part, arrived at St-Hubert in 2000 while studying to become a physical education teacher. She was working as a bartender at the restaurant at the Windsor train station when she met Jean-François. Love bloomed between the two employees, prompting Karine to become more focused management . . . and less interested in teaching.
Team management in the restaurant and at home
In addition to their three restaurants, the couple also runs a house filled with four boys, aged 22, 16, 9, and 7. The two oldest were born from Jean-François’s previous union. The eldest started working at the Verdun restaurant in February 2021. Jean-François makes sure to teach his son all the positions, so that he has the same chances, but also the same challenges as the rest of the employees.
The teams at the three restaurants share a close bond. Three of the Viau rotisserie deliverers have been there since it first opened almost 20 years ago. To nurture team spirit, Karine likes to pamper the group. She buys them chocolates for Easter and Valentine's Day, in addition to writing them personalized cards for Christmas. “We get involved a lot, we get involved every day. Employees can count on us,” she says.
Getting involved in the community one meal at a time
"We have been involved for several years with numerous local organizations through the St-Hubert Foundation," explains Jean-François. In Viau, the couple donates to organizations such as Avant tout, les enfants and the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Center, affiliated with CHU Sainte-Justine. The Pointe-aux-Trembles restaurant donates large quantities of soup to the Relais pour la vie cancer-fighting event and the Verdun location distributes meals to CLSCS establishments and local senior centres.
How would you describe the large St-Hubert family?
“These are all passionate people who work hard,” says Jean-François. "This is the strength of the St-Hubert network—passion!” adds Karine. Jean-François likes to be part of the franchise network for the sense of belonging it provides. "We talk to each other a lot, we text, and sometimes we call each other when we have questions," he explains.
"I am proud to have started from the ground up, to have climbed the ranks, and to have ended up here after all this time," concludes Jean-François. That’s something to be proud of!