VANCOUVER — A suite of operational change will be implemented at Michelin-starred St. Lawrence in the new year, aimed at improving employment conditions for staff and creating an even better dining experience for guests.
The changes – which take effect in January – will include an enhanced seven-course menu, scaled-down numbers of guests each evening and additional staff in both front and back-of-house. St. Lawrence will be open five days per week, Tuesday to Saturday, to better match employees’ family schedules. Additionally, back-of-house employees – who work longer shifts than front-of-house staff – will clock four-day work weeks, and enhanced health benefits for employees will include extended coverage for mental-health treatments, as well as company-matched contributions to employee RRSPs. St. Lawrence will also donate a portion of the proceeds from each reservation to a designated Vancouver charity each quarter. To help fund the changes, the price of the restaurant’s monthly seven-course menu will increase from $89 plus tax to $125 plus tax and gratuity.
“As the holiday season approaches, it has me thinking about what’s most important. Success is not about gain, it’s about giving back to people, especially to the staff who have been loyal to me. Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world; these changes will help make living here a little more comfortable,” says Vancouver chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Jean-Christophe Poirier. “I love this industry deeply but the hours are long and there’s little time for family. Burnout is common; that’s a challenge for employees and owners. We’ve had an incredible run and we’re now in the fortunate position to do all this.”
In October, St. Lawrence was awarded a Michelin star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Vancouver, as well as Restaurant of the Year at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards; top-three placement in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants; and inclusion on the World’s 50 Best Discovery List.