If Benny&Co. can take pride in serving you meals comprised of more than 80% local ingredients, it is thanks to its many partners and suppliers from here. It is due to the efforts of numerous businesses that Benny&Co. is probably the most Quebecois of roasters. Today, we present you five of them.
Hydroserre, our lettuce supplier – Valérie Terrault, Brand Manager at Hydroserre
Hydroserre, it’s a family story, isn’t it?
Yes, like Benny&Co, Hydroserre is a family business! The company was founded in 1987 by my father and it is still owned by my parents. My brother, my cousin, and my uncle and I now work at their side in the business. They have a lot of confidence in us!
What makes Quebec special for your company’s activities?
Although we export to the United States, Quebec remains our main market. Since we produce vegetables 12 months a year, we offer Quebecers the freshest local products—even in winter. Not everyone in a Nordic country can boast of that.
Also, Quebecers are receptive to agriculture and local supply, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. We hope that this will continue, because it makes a difference for companies like ours and Benny&Co.
What is the history of your partnership with Benny&Co.?
The Benny&Co. team approached us about a year ago. Before that, we had little presence in the restaurant industry, as our products are slightly more expensive than those of some American giants. Benny&Co. is one of the first companies in its sector that was willing to pay the right price to encourage local suppliers, while remaining affordable. It was a bold move and it’s a credit to them. Hats off to Benny&Co.!
Mejicano, our tortilla supplier – Philippe Gadoua, co-owner and president of Mejicano
How did the story of your partnership with Benny&Co. begin?
We approached Benny&Co. earlier this year. Luckily, they were looking for Quebec suppliers to offer a maximum of local ingredients to their customers. With this commitment to local sourcing, we obviously had chemistry! In addition, the Benny&Co. team is not complicated, and is accessible and down to earth, just like us.
Have you seen an evolution in the importance of local?
There is no doubt about it! We have noticed a craze for buying local, as much among grocery store consumers as among restaurant owners. We have noticed a great awareness, especially in the last year and a half. The public understands that by buying local, the money stays here, the taxes are paid here, and it enriches Quebec.
What is your greatest pride?
Our greatest pride is to be the only major producer of Quebec-owned tortillas whose products are certified Aliments du Québec. We are a growing company, and this is just the beginning!
Fromagerie St-Guillaume, our cheese supplier – Robert Cloutier, Sales Manager at St-Guillaume
What is the story of St-Guillaume?
St-Guillaume is a cheese factory that belongs to the COOP Agrilait, which was founded in 1940 by milk producers following the Great Depression. The COOP is owned by over 200 milk producers and today employs over 250 people. Quebec is our main market, but as poutine is gaining in popularity around the world, we now have several customers in Europe and North America.
It is the cheese curds that put St-Guillaume on the map. It represents 70% of our production, but we also produce other types of cheese. What makes our cheese curds special is our “cheddarization” process which makes them more elastic, keeps them whiter and ensures that they do not fall apart in the sauce.
How does your company make you proud?
As managers, we admire above all the pride that our employees and the people of the region have for our company and our products. We are THE cheese of the Drummondville region, THE home of poutine.
Our COOP model is also a great source of pride, we are owned by the producers of the region and our values of solidarity and mutual aid are felt at all levels in the company.
What is it like working with Benny&Co.?
I know them very well. We talk every week! They are people who demand as much from others as they do from themselves. I find it admirable that they work with local producers.
It’s also a company that gives back, and that’s in line with our values. We are always happy to participate in fundraising activities for the Benny&Co Foundation.
MAG Group, our mayonnaise supplier – Hugo Magnan, President of MAG Group
What does being a family business mean to you?
It means a lot! Our company was founded by my father in 1989, and I officially joined in 1999. I literally grew up in the business.
Together we have transformed, modernized and diversified our business, while remaining 100% family-owned and local. It is a great source of pride to have succeeded in bringing my father’s dream to where it is today. I hope my children will one day want to take the reins.
What is the story behind your products?
Initially, my father owned fish shops and we produced seafood mousse by hand. After several years of growth, we built our first factory and moved our operations.
As our equipment allowed us to produce other types of food, we started producing mayonnaises and custom-made sauces for restaurants. More recently, we opened a second plant near Quebec City, in Saint-Augustin.
What do you like about your collaboration with Benny&Co.?
We’d really like to acknowledge the appreciation they show their suppliers. It is so appreciated! It highlights the fact that it’s never just one company that creates a success, but also all the partners behind it.
Les Serres Royales, our tomato supplier – Stéphan Lemieux, General Manager of Les Serres Royales
How did the Lemieux family start producing tomatoes?
My parents used to have an auto parts business. At some point, my dad wanted to do something totally different. When we talked about farming, we went into greenhouse farming because it was a ground-breaking field, and it had a technology component.
We built and expanded our greenhouses ourselves, little by little. In 2015, we had 3 hectares and have grown to 6 hectares, our current size. Half of our greenhouses have also been converted to organic farming. Starting in 2021, we will be able to produce 12 months a year, much to the delight of our clients like Benny&Co. who have been very accommodating to us in recent years.
What makes you most proud?
One of our great sources of pride is that we have gone green. We recover all the water we reject, we recover heat, we heat with biomass, we reduce plastic and cardboard packaging to a minimum. It’s a job and an industry that require perseverance, but we are tenacious!
What is it like to run a family business?
We are a family business and have been around since the mid-1990s. My parents founded and grew the business, and my brother Pascal and I are now co-owners. It’s all I’ve ever known, so it’s a natural fit for me. Everyone has their strengths, and we complement each other much more than we confront each other. Our local suppliers are true partners in our success.
Thanks to these companies, we can offer you a menu that is as delicious for you and your family as it is good for the local economy. A special thank you to the 5 suppliers and all our other partners for their hard work 365 days a year.