Savvy consumers, telling the beef industry's story, and juicy, crusty steaks— LIVE! with Marcel Blais

Episodes:

We don’t often get to talk about the end of a supply chain here at RealAgriculture; telling all sides of a story is important to us — and so, we present a conversation about the restaurant industry with Marcel Blais, president of Chop Steakhouse & Bar.

Don’t miss the RealAg LIVE! segment most Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons at 1 pm Mountain/3 pm Eastern on your favourite social media platform — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Twitch!

SUMMARY

  • Chop recently signed on to Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef over five years ago, pre-COVID, first premium casual dining chain to add a sustainable beef product to the menu
  • What’s the consumer looking for? What cut? Sauce? Is the CRSB logo a conversation starter between diner and server? Description on the menu of CRSB helps
  • “Where does my food come from and how does it get to my plate?” is a question asked more often now
  • Logo creates dialogue within the Chop team too
  • Equipping staff with the right info. Push or pull? Teasers. Cattle production is good for the environment… starts the dialogue. Training series for staff members
  • Sidebar: 14 Chop Steakhouse locations. How do you ensure consistency in the end product? A perfectly cooked steak in Halifax and Vancouver. The Chop team works with each part of the beef supply chain. A montague boiler? Steak gets seared. 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared heat. Steak cooks faster, less moisture loss. You had us at crust.
  • Does Chop have opportunities for staff to visit farms? Yes. Story element and shared memories add to the dining experience.
  • Cattle ranch next to a vineyard? Makes for an epic tour.
  • Stories in the beef industry, family values, “living off the land,” not as good at telling that story as say, a vineyard, because there’s so many more layers, and sometimes we assume that people know the story. People want to hear about it.
  • Competitive space, consumers are savvy, how does Chop differentiate? quality of food of course, but service is key
  • Supply of CRSB verified beef, limits Chop’s ability to put the logo on any one cut of meat, so far, it’s on the burgers. If more producers can sign up for verification
  • COVID-19 shut down all 14 locations across Canada. Take-out and delivery for many months. Skeleton crew. Inspiring to watch the team and humbling to watch the support from the community. Two locations remain temporarily closed. Majority of the teams are back from lay-offs, working hard to get sales up.
  • Patios, when the snow flies, what’ll happen then?
  • Glass barriers between tables, sanitizer, intense protocols, masks
  • Vendor partners have been great. Supply of beef is steady and they can count on it. Minimizing the impact of COVID-19 supply chain disruptions has been a priority.
  • Blais has been in this industry since age 14, when he worked for Moxie’s.
  • Lingo. Sometimes it’s applicable, sometimes it’s baffling. Speaks to the competitiveness of the industry. Which ones are smoke and mirrors?

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