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A French recovery SoupeSoup, a mark that is iconic of Montreal

Hervé Gevaudan was resumed in 2018 this place specializes in soups, which offers its products in supermarkets and online. His ambition ? Re-open restaurants. H

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A French recovery SoupeSoup, a mark that is iconic of Montreal

Hervé Gevaudan was resumed in 2018 this place specializes in soups, which offers its products in supermarkets and online. His ambition ? Re-open restaurants.

Hervé Gevaudan has the taste of "challenge". To take over a business in financial difficulty and try to get it back on the rails, it was better not to be afraid of challenges... Since September 2018, Sétois original owner of SoupeSoup, a brand dear to the hearts of Montrealers, was founded in 2001 and specializes - as its name suggests - in the soups. "I had the intuition that it was a beautiful brand," says this contractor, installed in Québec for 2016. And start again on something new is always exciting."

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Because, originally, it is a whole other project which led Hervé Gevaudan to cross the Atlantic. "I had created in 2012, in France, the company Uniti, which was of social housing, and tells the story of the fifties. After its ipo, in 2015, we wanted to, with my partner, positioning the company on two independent markets, by security. The most logical choice and the least distant, it was Quebec. So, I went to Canada to develop the activity." Except that, on the ground, the adventure turns out to be more complicated than expected... "We tried to do several operations, but everything is totally different from France, both in the culture and methods," says French. What's more, here, in the real estate, it is necessary to go very quickly, and we had need of time... after a year and a half, so we decided not to persevere."

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soups distributed in 600 grocery stores

The businessman sold his shares and went in search of a new entrepreneurial project. His choice was on SoupeSoup - a way to reconnect with her first profession. "I am chef de cuisine at the base, I was a little lost in real estate", smiles Hervé Gevaudan, who then reports the magnitude of the task to be done to straighten out the company. "There were cash flow problems, payroll taxes hallucinating for the sector, costs of purchase are very important... During the first eight months, we lost 50 000 dollars each month ! He had to start from scratch."

To do this, the new owner decided to close the six restaurants of the brand and focus on the soups offered in the supermarket - but by changing the economic model. Finished the soups sold under licensed brands : the company acquires now the soups in the manufacturer and sells to itself, which allows him to recover more than the few cents of royalties per pot. Distributed in about 600 grocery stores throughout Québec, the soups have seen their sales explode : "You bet on 250 000 jars sold on the season (September-may), while there was 100 000 per year before, shows Hervé Gevaudan. This year, our net sales of soup are expected to be approximately $ 800,000."

a Native of Sète, Hervé Gevaudan moved to Quebec city in 2016

SDP

In parallel, the company, which employs eight people, has developed the direct sale of cooked products (soups and dishes formerly offered in the restaurants) via its web site. The ambition of Hervé Gevaudan ? Reopen restaurants in Montreal, where the brand still enjoys a very strong reputation, but also to conquer other markets (Ontario, the United States, and even France), while keeping its positioning as "authentic". "Consumption patterns are changing, and we are betting that people will increasingly want to eat artisanal products, says the head of the company. Our DNA, it is precisely to offer comfort food, made from healthy products and of quality, but out of the ordinary : for example, we are the only ones to offer a soup-beet-citrus !"

"Here, the excitement is not understood"

Four years after settling in this province who has been seduced by its tranquility ("the people are super nice, there is less pressure than in France), Hervé Gevaudan control now better codes quebec business. "At the beginning, when I wasn't happy, I was screaming, but I quickly changed my tune ! fun-t-it. Here, it is not in the conflict and the anger is not understood. For example, in France, if you put in the time to pay a supplier, he will call you and you yelled. Here, people are not going to say anything, but they're going to be less work... It is necessary to be aware of these cultural differences and it is through the experience that one gets there."

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His advice to future entrepreneurs tempted by the quebec market ? Join the French-language networks international, to the image of the club's English Founders. "It allows you to meet many people and to have interesting tips, because members are often of the French installed for some time. Because, when we get into the field unknown, it is difficult not to make mistakes..."

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