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‘How do we stand out and scale?’ Among Biggest Concerns Surfaced at Lightspeed’s First ‘Table Talk’ in Montreal

Lightspeed Commerce Inc. recently hosted the Montreal edition of Table Talks, a gathering of chefs, restaurant managers, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, members of the media and Lightspeed executives at local acclaimed restaurants. 

This latest edition of Table Talks was held at Europea by Jérôme Ferrer, where guests were invited to start open conversations, build connections and help Lightspeed equip businesses to face their biggest current and future challenges.  

“I’m thrilled to be bringing Table Talks home to our headquarter city in Montreal,” said JP Chauvet, Lightspeed’s CEO. “From day one, Lightspeed’s mission has been to help communities. We give independent businesses the tools they need to face big competitors.  And that’s more important than ever—so we’re here to listen to what these community champions need from us.”

Here are some key takeaways from the evening:

  • It’s difficult for small, independent retailers to stand out from the competition online. Chefs and high-end retailers are used to offering bespoke customer service. This distinguishes them from the competition and builds a loyal customer base. However, it requires a great deal of time—which, in today’s market, is increasingly spent on building an online presence.
  • No-shows are a huge source of anxiety in the hospitality industry. Lightspeed has written about this issue, which has become even more prevalent post-pandemic. Unlike a cancellation, no-shows don’t tell the restaurant that they won’t honor their booking. It’s an unpleasant surprise for the restaurant, which can’t fill the table and loses income. 
  • Restaurant culture is changing. Up-and-coming chefs and restaurant managers are blazing ahead with a new, more collaborative approach to running their business. The former division between “back of house” and “front of house” fades as the next generation of chefs seek to find work-life balance in an industry that has historically punishing schedules. 

Asked about this shift in the workplace, Jonathan Metcalfe, Restaurant Manager at Tuck Shop, noted that it’s “something that came out of the pandemic, but I don’t think it’s a trend. I think it’s a revolution.” Much of it is also tied to staff retention, which has often been an issue in the hospitality industry: “If you want to keep these people,” he adds, “you need to reward them and they need to feel challenged. I think moving towards a more cooperatively run structure in restaurants would be the key to making sure that Montreal stays a city that features so many great restaurants.”

Lightspeed powers the world’s best retailers, restaurants and bars, including Michel Brisson (Montreal), Joe Beef (Montreal), Melissa Joy Manning (New York), Boulud (New York), City Bird (Detroit), Alinea (Chicago), Zilte (Antwerp), Le Chalet de la Forêt (Brussels),  In den Ouden Vogelstruys (Maastricht), Kei (Paris), Da Terra (London),  Maybe Sammy (Sydney), Neal’s Yard Remedies (UK), Jurlique (Global) and Joel Robuchon Group (Global).

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