Renovated Le Mirage Restaurant & Motel Targets New High-End Clientele
Philippe Couturier is very passionate. His passion for this restaurant and motel is obvious and contagious as soon as he speaks about Le Mirage.
“We have 40 room units, and Le Mirage is a high-end family restaurant” says Philippe Couturier.
Le Mirage Restaurant and Motel in La Malbaie, Quebec, was built in 1985 by his father Guy and his uncle Yvon; they chose the name “Mirage” to portray the thousand images reflecting in the mirror-covered walls of the motel rooms.
After the death of his uncle in 2005, Philippe took over the family business and put his mark on the establishment by doing a complete overhaul. They got rid of the famous mirrors, but kept the name.
“Le Mirage has always been a family restaurant, but I wanted it to be a little more high-end, so I revamped it. I secured the services of LEMAY MICHAUD Architecture Design (lemaymichaud.com), decorators specializing in the accommodation and food sector. I wanted it to be more like a cocktail lounge with a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. With those changes, my clientele changed a little, but I did not lose my previous clients, I only gained a more high-end clientele”, he says.
A Modern-Comfort Oasis
The 80-seat licensed restaurant is now an oasis of comfort with accents of nature-inspired colours. A modern half-wall of stylized trees nicely divides the room, while a refrigerated display case near the entrance features the mouth-watering delicious desserts that you can ogle as soon as you step inside the restaurant.
In 2009, Philippe Couturier has also added a 40-seat outdoor patio filled with greenery, which was very popular in the summertime. All these changes were definitely worth it, as his sales went up by 40% in the two years following the renovations.
A Mouth-Watering Menu
Philippe Couturier attributes a large part of his success to the great quality of his menu and the food proposed by his head cook Louise Tremblay, part of the Mirage team for more than 20 years.
“We are great at doing breakfasts, and we are known as “Thee” breakfast spot. We serve breakfast pizzas, traditional breakfasts, omelets, and egg nests consisted of potatoes and vegetables covered with eggs”, she adds as an example.
Their daily menu changes every week to offer new dishes and different themes to customers, like lobster dishes this spring. Clients love pizzas, charcoaled steak, burgers on the grill, various healthy salads and delicious pasta, as well as an elaborate wine list to compliment the menu.
Benefiting From Their Location
Philippe Couturier adds that Mirage’s appeal is enhanced by its location in La Malbaie, situated in the Pointe-au-Pic sector in the heart of the beautiful tourist region of Charlevoix, known for its resorts, its casino and outdoor and relaxing activities.
Le Mirage Restaurant and Motel offers more than 10 packages, from whale-watching and gambling at the Charlevoix Casino to a romantic evening for two enhanced with therapeutic massages.
“Eighty percent of my clientele consists of tourists. A good part of this clientele comes from the casino, but I also have a business clientele. The Motel provides me with clients, but I have a lot of clients are locals. My family is well-known, since we’ve always been in the business and we know a lot of people”, he says.
To thank his loyal local clients, Philippe Couturier does not hesitate to give back to his community by sponsoring local events, by being a member of the local Lions Club, and by supporting the Fondation du Centre hospitalier St-Joseph de La Malbaie.
Marketing’s Two-Pronged Approach
As for the marketing, Le Mirage adopts a two-pronged approach, which combines traditional means like radio and television ads for a regional clientele, with the use of social media and his website (www.motellemirage.com).
“Social media allows us to promote in a timely manner. Our daily menu is uploaded on Facebook every day, and my spouse, Anne Jean, regularly publishes local activities on our Facebook page. Every day, we have a featured dish. It really makes things happen. Clients can also give us feedback on our promotions”, adds Philippe.
The UNIPCO Advantage
Philippe Couturier became a UNIPCO member almost two years ago, and does not regret his decision.
“I am a small business owner, and it was difficult for me to have purchasing power. It took a lot of work to sit with suppliers twice a year to negotiate prices. I looked into many groups, but I believe UNIPCO is the one that respects most my mentality and is there to help me”, he says. He ads that that he recently strongly recommended the purchasing system to a friend that just started in the restaurant industry.
This member has labeled his relationship with UNIPCO as “very easy” and he adds that all promises made by his representative were kept.
“The main benefit is that I do not need to negotiate prices two or three times a year. I believe I always get the best price. UNIPCO respects its members, and if local purchases need to be made, it’s not a big deal. UNIPCO does not try to change my restaurant’s formula; they are very flexible”, he adds with satisfaction.