Behind every St-Hubert franchise lies a typical family with a history of their own. In Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough, that family is Erasmo Valencia’s. The franchisee was the very first to implement composting in his rotisserie.
Erasmo spent his teenage years in Salvador. Around the age of 18, shortly after returning to Quebec, Erasmo joined the St-Hubert family. At the time, he came to the Brossard rotisserie dressed with a shirt and tie for a dishwasher position. “I had the interview at 10 a.m. and at 5 p.m. I was wearing a t-shirt and washing dishes,” he laughs.
Erasmo worked at franchises based in Brossard, Lachine, and Verdun before becoming the manager of the Sainte-Dorothée restaurant in 2007. In 2010, he opened the Marcel-Laurin Express with other partners. Five years later, he became the sole franchisee.
Teamwork at the restaurant and at home
As a father to two boys—a 5-year old and an 8-year old—Erasmo shares his daily life with his wife Chantal Landry, who has been in charge of the restaurant's administration for five years now. She joined the restaurant team after a career as an educator. It was to have greater flexibility schedule-wise that she joined Erasmo at the restaurant. “Not everyone is able to work with their partner, but personally, it really brought us together."
Their secret? They both have their own roles. “People see Chantal as a mother figure, the easy-to-approach person, and I must admit, she’s the one who puts me in my place and calms me down, while they see me as the one who decides and who comes up with solutions. The core is much stronger and more stable since Chantal joined us."
Erasmo is very close to his employees, many of whom have worked with him for several years. Among these employees, there’s a father/daughter duo (the father works as a deliveryman, while the daughter acts as a kitchen team leader), and a deliveryman who followed Erasmo from Sainte-Dorothée to Marcel-Laurin.
Small actions that lead to big changes
The Marcel-Laurin restaurant is one of the largest St-Hubert Express locations in the network. It is also the first franchise that introduced composting, an innovative project close to the heart of this entrepreneur and which was then deployed throughout the network, making St-Hubert the first chain to compost its waste. Erasmo pays great attention to what is recycled and what is composted and trains his employees to do the same. Over 80% of the restaurant's waste is recycled and composted.
Erasmo emphasizes the importance of giving back to families in his community. “Not everyone has the chance to go to a restaurant.” He regularly donates food to the ABC Center, to the Maison des Familles de Saint-Laurent and to two churches in the neighbourhood.
Proud of having succeeded in fulfilling one of his dreams—owning his own restaurant—Erasmo wishes to underline the involvement of his team, head office, customers, and suppliers. “I wanted to have my own restaurant. The success I have today comes from teamwork."
How would you describe the large St-Hubert family?
Erasmo finds St-Hubert welcoming and inclusive and wouldn't trade his fellow franchisees for anything in the world. “When I was a young manager, I saw the franchisee group at conventions. Today, I rub shoulders with them. We text, we talk to each other, and we’re friends. That's really what gets me. When people ask me what the pride of being a franchisee is, I simply answer that it’s working hard and being a part of the family."
If Erasmo started his career swapping his dress shirt for a t-shirt, today it is with great pride that he wears his franchisee’s jacket. He says one of the most defining moments of his career was when his jacket was handed to him at an event organized for the occasion by the head office. For him, that's what being part of the great St-Hubert family is all about.