Le Cage au Sports (Groupe Sportscene Inc.)
Restaurant, sports bars
Primary market: Quebec
President: Jean Bédard
A sporting meal
When Andrei Markov returned to the Montreal Canadiens’ line-up last month after an extended injury, there was another man in the city that was just as happy as the star defence man.
“A huge proportion of our customers are sports fans,” said Jean Bédard, president of Groupe Sportscene, which spearheads a chain of 49 sports bar/restaurants that sold a combined $121.5 million worth of chicken, ribs and beer to Quebec sports fans and their families last year. “In this province hockey is king. When the Canadiens win, clients want to come to our establishments to watch them and that is great for business. So let’s hope his return turns things around.”
To help compensate for the Habs’ poor performance during the past year Groupe Sportscene pursued numerous initiatives. These included building up its sports travel agency, which organizes group trips to football games and other events and broadening its sponsorships of professional boxers.
Despite his continued success, Bédard looks to the future with mixed emotions. During the past year, worries about the economy caused many consumers to lighten their restaurant budgets, a trend he hopes will reverse during 2010. However while he waits he won’t be sitting around. “We are going to continue to broaden our business by seeking out at non-traditional sites such as arenas, rinks and other sporting venues that generate a lot of traffic,” said Bédard, a chartered accountant by training, who did a brief stint as an auditor before heading out on his own. “We have to go where the customers are.”
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Peter Diekmeyer Communications Inc.