Martin Harvey literally grew up working in the restaurant business. At the age of eight, he regularly lent a helping hand at the McDonald’s restaurant owned by his father in Rimouski, Quebec. When he was 15, his father purchased Quebec’s Le Bavarois brewery and Martin helped out any way he could to ensure the business was a success.
Fast-forward to 1992 and Martin, then in his early twenties, partnered with his brother Alain, who had recently purchased the first franchise of the new Pacini restaurant chain in Trois-Rivières. After receiving culinary, service, and management training, he worked as his brother’s assistant for a year, eventually taking over the business in 1996.
When he hit the five year mark as franchise owner, Martin decided to push the pause button and re-evaluate his commitment to the business. “Every five years I take a step back and ask myself if the passion is still there,” he says. “It’s a very demanding trade and it’s easy to get the feeling that the grass is greener on the other side. But every time I make a list of the pros and cons, I realize that I still really love my work. That allows me to refocus and keep going for another five years, all the while feeling happier and more motivated.”
In 2016, Martin celebrated his 20th anniversary as a franchisee, and the 30th anniversary of his restaurant. “Last year, we expanded the restaurant by another 1,000 sq. ft. We added a terrace, a private lounge, and a bar. It is without a doubt the nicest restaurant I’ve ever worked in!”
The “new” restaurant has been a phenomenal success for Martin and his family. He, along with his wife Kirsten and their two children, are committed to the Pacini brand, celebrating increased and consistent revenue growth at their location.
Martin states that their success has been dependent on its location, the quality of the Pacini product, the strength of the chain and its service, and above all, diligence. “I constantly tell the people working with me that we must always strive to be diligent. It’s diligence and hard work that leads to our success!”
He goes on to say that it’s been the hard work and loyalty of his employees that he is most proud of.
“Many of our employees have been with us since the beginning, and half of our employees have been here for the past ten years so we must be doing something right!”
In his opinion, the biggest challenge currently facing franchisees is human resource management. The need to recognize young workers is more important than ever before, and finding a job that is not too demanding is also a significant trend among job seekers.
“Our challenge is to create a pleasant working environment for them, despite the demands of the restaurant business.” With this in mind, Martin and Kirsten make themselves available to their employees seven days a week and rely on the Pacini Recognition Plan for assistance.
“Ten years ago, I told my father that things had changed so much over the previous 5 years that he would hardly recognize the industry. Now things change in 6 months. You have to renovate and reinvent the menu more often, and check the equipment more frequently, which includes reviewing and updating business practices.”
Even though everything is moving at a faster pace, Martin still feels lucky to be working and growing with the Pacini franchise. Over the next couple of months, he plans to enjoy his time as a franchise owner before pushing the pause button again in 2018.