In the somewhat obvious and blandly-titled "Quebecers love to eat at restaurants", Gazette data wonk Roberto Rocha crunches some numbers from Statistics Canada and comes to a stark conclusion.
Quebec leads the nation in eating at full-service restaurants. Monthly receipts for these sit-down establishments in Quebec are 40 to 50 per cent higher than at limited-service offerings like fast-food joints, takeout restaurants and delivery.
Like so many other socio-economic phenomena in Canada, this puts la belle province at odds with most of the other provinces. Over the last decade, for example, fast-food outlets have outshone full-service restaurants in Ontario.
Only 28 per cent of restaurants in Quebec are part of a chain. In Ontario, it's 41 per cent, according to François Meunier, vice-president of public affairs for the Association des restaurateurs du Québec, a coalition of mostly independent restaurants.
The Canadian average, he added, is 37 per cent.
Meunier provides some murky, difficult-to-prove theories as to why Quebecers have less love for quick-service chains. The industry rep postulates, simply, that "It certainly has to do with our European origins" and "We have always looked down on the restaurant chain model because it's American." This is tough, if not impossible, to prove.
And before anyone gets too smug, it is important to note that Statistics Canada designates cookie-cutter chains like St-Hubert, Scores, Normandin, ZIBO! and Houston Avenue Bar & Grill as full-service restaurants. The data is imperfect for those who want to draw conclusions about supposed Québécois sophistication, in other words.
Still, one topic the article avoids is obesity rates in Canada. As it turns out, Quebec, along with British Columbia, has the lowest rates of obesity in the country. New Brunswick, on the other hand, where the ratio of fast-food restaurants trumps the rest of Canada, is the fattest province. Correlation?