Individuals rewarded for ordering online during this year’s two-week event

By: Sydney Nitychoruk

Fionn MacCool’s Grant Park makes the tangy and crunchy dish “Pickle Me Elmans” for their La Poutine Week entry./SYDNEY NITYCHORUK

La Poutine Week is encouraging online ordering this year, causing some restaurants to shift their marketing. Others, however, are unable to participate as a result.

DoorDash is rewarding Winnipeggers for ordering online by offering $8 off orders $15 or more when choosing a La Poutine Week dish through the app.

The Culinary Exchange was not able to participate in DoorDash’s promotion because of the low price they charge for their poutine, said Chef Karl Oman, a culinary instructor at RRC Polytech.

The Culinary Exchange’s East Meets West Poutine is $8.50, and the majority of other restaurant’s poutines range from $15-18.

“We’re not a profit-driven restaurant,” said Chef Oman. “If we went full online delivery…we’d get killed.”

Chef Oman said a discount for RRC Polytech students at The Culinary Exchange would be an incentive for them to visit the restaurant.

“We’re a school first, not a restaurant,” said Chef Oman. “I just wish we would market more to the students.”

Chef Oman asked the culinary students if they were interested in making a video to promote their poutine, and Camille Coronado, a culinary student, volunteered.

“A lot of students are on social media, so it gets the word out quicker,” said Coronado.

Coronado’s video has gained attention from her followers and was posted on the RRC Polytech School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts’ Instagram page, she said.

Other participating restaurants have also discussed shifting their marketing strategies.

Jay Kilgour, owner of Fionn MacCool’s Grant Park and Crossroads locations, said he has shifted his focus to Instagram and Facebook to promote takeout orders, instead of indoor dining.

Kilgour said it feels irresponsible to encourage customers to “come to the pub and party.” It is also out of respect for smaller restaurants that are operating on a take-out only basis, he said.

“We want to be sensitive of that, and not flaunt what we are lucky enough to have,” said Kilgour.

Before entering La Poutine Week, Kilgour made the dish, packaged it, and delivered it to one of his employees. The employee tried it and gave him feedback.

“There’s trial and error a couple of times,” he said. “But there’s a lot more that goes into making the dish when you need to focus on providing a good meal for takeout.”

Events like La Poutine Week require Kilgour and his staff to work longer hours, but he said it is a “welcomed distraction from the mundane everyday pumping out the same foods.”