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Françoise Sin Chan, owner of Café Campagne in Vaudreuil-Dorion, sends a cry from the heart to the government and the population. It is imperative to reopen the restaurants, otherwise it will be difficult for many.

Owner of Café Campagne for 17 years, Mrs. Sin Chan has a loyal clientele who like to come and enjoy their breakfast in a rural atmosphere. Lunches are served until 2 p.m. and meals are generous.

“Before Covid and even at the reopening in June, people were there, she says. People have their little routine and we are part of it.”

Pandemic turmoil

The owner of the restaurant has trouble understanding the government’s decision to close the dining rooms in mid-October. She does not see the logic that drives Quebec to take this action.

“Small restaurants like mine cannot afford to have an outbreak, says Mrs. Sin Chan. It is our reputation that is at risk. If an outbreak occurs in my business, people will not come. So, it is to our advantage to enforce public health standards.”

Barrier gestures are very strict at Café Campagne. Even though the dining room has been closed since October, customers must sanitize their hands, put on a mask and follow the traffic arrows on the ground.

Likewise for employees who have to change their mask and wash their hands every time they enter the kitchen.

“During the short time that we were open, people would come and thank us for being there for them, says Françoise Sin Chan. They saw that the necessary measures were being taken to reduce the spread of the virus.”

The restaurant reluctantly turned to take out orders. Mrs. Sin Chan had to innovate and reinvent herself to ensure that lunch take-out orders were still of good quality delivered to clients’ homes.

“Take-out was quite a challenge, she says. Buying the containers, the bags and reinventing the recipes to make it portable was difficult. Once again, small restaurateurs were asked to bend over backwards to survive.”

There for her customers and by pride

The owner is clear, she doesn’t want to close her restaurant. According to her, after 17 years of hard work, she cannot afford to go out of business.

She wants to be there for her customers first and foremost. For nearly two decades, Mrs. Sin Chan has built a dedicated and loyal clientele. It’s nonsense for her to let it go.

“I have to remain a part of the landscape in the region, she adds. If I close and wait, people might look elsewhere. Also, I sell products from several small artisans in the region. If I close, they will no longer have a point of sale outside their store. We stick together in this environment.”

Her employees are also a great source of motivation for the owner of Café Campagne. She doesn’t have many because of the lack of work and CERB. She knows that the employees who work in the restaurant now are the most dedicated and that they are there for the right reasons.

Françoise Sin Chan keeps her restaurant open, as she pushes a whole new concept that could keep her afloat. She created frozen dishes to make life easier for her customers.

“Frozen meals are easy to prepare, she says. We put them in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes and you’re done. It’s starting to get quite popular and I’m happy with the results, as I have a varied menu of meals.”

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