Buy Local – Interview with Mario Bélanger from Mayrand Food Depot

Mario Bélanger

With a background in business administration at Laval University, Mario Bélanger, President and CEO of Mayrand Food Group, has more than 35 years of experience working for large and renowned companies such as Costco Wholesale Canada, Granada Location Canada, and Hudson’s Bay Company of Canada. For Mario Bélanger, Mayrand Food Depot is an ideal foodservice destination in the greater Montreal area, where the individual customer can find satisfaction. “My role is to define the most efficient operating methods and a winning teamwork in order to offer the best prices. And this is achieved as a team, every day.” Meet a businessman who believes in operational excellence in action.

How would you describe Mayrand Food Depot?

Mayrand Food Depot is a Quebec-based retailer of food and small kitchen items, intended for professionals and open to the public, without membership obligations.

How did Mayrand Food Depot came to be?

In 1914, the Mayrand company was created by a Montreal-based family. Since 2019, Mayrand Food Depot has been upholding its unique concept of a specialty store for food and small kitchen equipment for food professionals, open to the public, without a membership card. The company has implemented modern e-commerce technology and has grown from one to four successful stores between July 2020 and April 2021.

How does Mayrand Food Depot stand out in the retail food industry

We offer a new and unique concept: 

  •  The “cash and carry” concept for foodservice experts, with products usually limited to professionals.
  • Modernized services with state-of-the-art technology, including online shopping and “click and collect” service, state-of-the-art butchery and fishmonger equipment.
  • A deli and cheese expertise close to producers and a direct supply of fresh produce.
  • The purchasing power of the Mayrand Plus Group, which allows us to offer unparalleled prices and cost-effective large-format items, while ensuring professional quality.
  • Our Mayrand Plus distribution.

What are the must-have products or services found at Mayrand Food Depot?

Mayrand Food Depot carries more than 10,000 food items, 1,000 of which are sourced in Quebec: fresh products (meat, fish and seafood, produce, cheese and dairy products), packaging and single-use products, and professional quality kitchenware.

What made you decide to open your depot at Mail Champlain?

More than ever, the exceptional situation we’ve experienced with COVID-19 has confirmed the relevance of our geographic expansion plan in Quebec. The opening of a new location on July 15, 2020 at Mail Champlain in Brossard has enabled us to get closer to our current and future customers on the South Shore.

By opening our doors in Brossard, we have created over 70 new jobs on-site over 50,000 square feet. We’re offering 1,000 local products and a total selection of over 10,000 items, including fresh food and kitchen items, available seven days a week.

What do you love about the food industry?

We want to bring Quebec producers into our restaurants’ kitchens and onto the plates of local people. Our deep conviction, which unites all Mayrand Food Group employees, is our feeling of playing an active role in the quality of food in Quebec. At the corporate level, this translates into a highly efficient organization for the supply of food, packaging, and small equipment, and the ability to make everything available directly to as many people as possible.

At Mayrand, we want to contribute to a healthy Quebec food industry, promote the entrepreneurship of food service professionals, and make it easier for everyone to eat independently

What advice would you have for future business owners

Work in collaboration with your partners, suppliers, and employees to bring real, proven and useful solutions to your customers. The Quebec market is mature, the food culture is evolved, and producers are working well. As a business, our local network is vital to ensure sustainable and legitimate growth.

The foodservice sector was severely affected since the beginning of the pandemic. How did you adapt to this situation?

We have reviewed part of our product mix. We have increased our focus on our “Low Price Everyday” product line, which plays a key role in enabling our restaurant customers to operate profitably. We have also increased our ready-to-go packaging range, to support business continuity for restaurant customers.

How does Mayrand Food Depot support Quebec businesses?

We work with local suppliers as procurement partners. We also work with food service professionals, associations and small businesses, for whom we are an accessible supplier that meets their specific needs and requirements

What are Mayrand Food Depot’s projects for 2021?

We will continue to grow in Quebec with new store locations as well as the expansion of our distribution network. Since January 2021, we have opened a new store in Saint-Jérôme, in the Lower Laurentians, and have set up our distribution division in Quebec City