Peter Sergakis: a tenant who throws, but resists blows

Those who cannot beat Peter Sergakis will have to be patient. At 75, the businessman is still far from retirement, although he admits having lived through the “worst times” in restaurants and bars.

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“Retirement? Not for at least 25,” he laughs, picking up the character’s famous mantra Hello! Say ah! Tremblay.

When asked if he’s kidding, the one who rules Montreal’s bars and restaurants and owns over 250 buildings becomes the world’s most serious.

“I’m taking her to 100!” I still have passion, energy and health. I like to do things, develop projects, I want to create, I like to work and find opportunities”, she lists.

It must be said that he has the tough skin of Peter Sergakis. Embarrassing, controversial, enigmatic… all the adjectives have been attached to it in recent years. During the early days of the pandemic, however, he tearfully announced the firing of all 1,500 of his employees.

worst weather in 60 years

But the health crisis has passed and he never thought of giving up despite the difficulties in his sector. However, he admits in passing that the current period is the worst he has experienced professionally.

“In 60 years, I have never seen this. I post ads to find employees and get no response. I have never seen that, never, never, never, ”she repeated several times during the interview with The newspaper.

The lack of personnel, Peter Sergakis experiences it every day. He has an immediate need for 250 experienced or 350 inexperienced employees.

Meanwhile, in the vast majority of its forty establishments, bars and restaurants, it has reduced the hours to deal with shortages. It does not leave aside the idea of ​​​​closures, but for the moment the decision has not been made.

Fewer hours, fewer days

“Currently, we are open fewer hours, fewer days, until the market stabilizes,” he said.

This is what he did with the Station des Sports, rue Sainte-Catherine, near Atwater. Just reopened the restaurant and bar this week with reduced staff.

“We didn’t have enough workers. We take employees from other establishments, I make them work more. Some will do 45-50 hours. Others who were working part time will be working full time,” she says.

The other Station des sports restaurant located in the Gay Village is still closed due to a broken pipe during the winter. A decision has not yet been made on whether it will reopen.

“It is sure that sport in Montreal is difficult. Hockey is bad, we don’t have basketball, we don’t have football. We have the Impact, it’s good for customers who love football. We also expect a lot with the World Cup in November”, he analyses.

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$40 meals?

But scarcity is not his only concern. With runaway inflation, transportation, food, and electricity costs, anticipate a significant increase in the price of restaurant meals.

“I want to warn customers. Well, normal meals that are $15-20, we won’t have the option to raise the prices to $30-40, otherwise we won’t make it, otherwise there will be more closures. »

“Before we worked harder to try to balance losses with gains, but now I think we will be less patient,” he predicts.

Bet on tourists… and Heaven

But the one who was born on the island of Ios in Greece refuses to give up. He believes the tourists will be numerous and relies heavily on the bars on him, especially the Sky complex in the Gay Village.

“Formula 1, which returns, helps us a lot. There will be a return of tourists this year. At the Sky we have made renovations, the bar is world famous. And you know, there is no difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals. We don’t ask the world what they do in their private lives, we welcome everyone,” she says with a laugh.

However, this section of rue Sainte-Catherine has remained less attractive in recent years. Several businesses have closed their doors and it is not uncommon to see signs for rent in the windows.

“We expect the City to do something. The closed street is a good thing for us, we have to have activities 12 months a year”, believes the businessman.

Proud to be Quebecers

Despite the bleak background, Peter Sergakis considers himself lucky. He doesn’t want to talk about the impact of the pandemic on his fortune (whether he’s a billionaire or not, the question remains unanswered…), but he deflects the question to his pride in having made it in Quebec.

“I’m lucky, I came to Quebec in 1960, I fell in love with the people of Quebec. I love Quebecers and I am proud to be a Quebecer”, he concludes.

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