Brasserie T! restos close; 130 workers laid off

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The principals behind the famed Toqué restaurant announced on Wednesday the immediate closure of the Brasserie T! eateries in Mile-End/Parc-Extension, Ste-Thérèse and Brossard, as well as Comptoir-Épicerie on Beaumont Ave. and Burger T! in Montreal’s Time Out Market.

Toqué!, however, will open on Jan. 10 after the holiday break. Employees were notified of the news on Wednesday morning. In total, 130 workers were laid off, according to a statement.

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“Brasserie T! was doing well. Traffic was good,” said Normand Laprise, the group’s chef and co-founder.

However, the pandemic came at the worst time in the development of the network, whose expansion plan launched in 2019 included a production kitchen and the opening of five Brasserie T! restos.

“The operating costs of our production kitchen, located on Beaumont Ave., were too high to supply just three branches. As a result, we were running at a loss. If it hadn’t been for the pandemic, development would already have been completed.”

Added to this was the negative effect of inflation, including the rising costs of raw materials, construction and wages. Staff turnover was also cited as a problem.

The facilities and equipment of the Brasserie T!, Comptoir-Épicerie and its production kitchen are up for sale.

Partners and co-founders Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche said they will devote their efforts to ensuring the future success of Toqué! which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2023. Although Brasserie T! left their group financially fragile, the duo acknowledged, they are nonetheless hopeful of stabilizing the situation quickly over the coming months.

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