Emile Haykal

Carrefour Laval has always been one of my favorite shopping centres. It is so popular that finding a parking spot remained the greatest challenge. Then COVID-19 hit and shopping centres were shut down.

For Carrefour Laval, it was some of the restaurant tenants that kept going, with takeout and delivery: P.F. Chang’s, Baton Rouge, The Keg, Table 51, later joined by La Cage Brasserie sportive and many of the food court kiosks.

Sébastien Perron, the general manager of Carrefour Laval, told me that when the pandemic hit a total of 30 parking spots were opened up for customers doing pickups at restaurants and other stores. “We were happy to support our merchants, especially restaurants, during the lockdown,” he said.

Emile Haykal, a Laval resident who manages the recently reopened La Cage on Decarie, worked at P.F. Chang’s Laval during the heat of the lockdown and he was pleasantly surprised by how customers drove literally across the island to make pickups.

Groupe Sportscene President and CEO Jean Bédard slowly began to open the 37 La Cage properties in Quebec in June. The company also owns P.F. Chang’s and Moishes Steakhouse. The latter just had its iconic property on St. Laurent Blvd sold. It will resurface sometime after the pandemic is over at a new venue.

Now to that point I made about the lack of parking spots at Carrefour Laval. “Pickup and dining in has been simplified for us at La Cage and P.F. Chang’s because the mall is less crowded,” says Bédard. “It is easier to find a spot or do curbside pickup.”

They have officially launched “La Cage — Chez vous,” with an enhanced offering of delivery, take-out and ready-to-cook meals. In addition, retail sales of the La Cage and Moishes products continue to grow as they extend their distribution in several new food banners. There is also a 15 percent discount for takeout.

Perron told me he dropped by La Cage himself last week for a bite and he was particularly impressed with the fact he could access their menu so easily on his smartphone. “The experience was great,” he said. “Overall business at the center is doing well, especially on the weekends and when the weather is not nice outside.”

Perron has been in his present position since 2014. He joined Cadillac Fairview, owner of Le Carrefour Laval, 21 years ago. “We have already learned a lot during this pandemic,” he said. “I think when this is all over, our stores will maintain a lot of these new practices.”

Something to share? Email mcohen@thesuburban.com, follow me on Twitter @mikecohencsl and on our blog section at www.thesuburban.com

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