Homemade or not? By 2025, restaurateurs will have to say what’s on their plate

IThe world of French restaurants is about to experience a small revolution: 175,000 establishments across all sectors are affected. From gastronomic addresses to fast-food restaurants, including brasseries, bistros, franchised brands and even food trucks. In 2025, each menu must mention, in detail, whether the dishes offered are homemade or non-homemade. This new agreement was announced at the end of October by Olivia Gregoirethe Minister responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce, Crafts and Tourism.

“The process has not yet been defined, but the decision will be implemented by government order or decree, or even, if necessary, by parliamentary means in 2025…

IThe world of French restaurants is about to experience a small revolution: 175,000 establishments across all sectors are affected. From gastronomic addresses to fast-food restaurants, including brasseries, bistros, franchised brands and even food trucks. In 2025, each menu must mention, in detail, whether the dishes offered are homemade or non-homemade. This new agreement was announced at the end of October by Olivia Gregoirethe Minister responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce, Crafts and Tourism.

“The process has not yet been defined, but the decision will be implemented by government order or decree, or even, if necessary, by parliamentary means in 2025, whatever happens”, confirms to “Sud Ouest”, the minister’s office. We must continue to consult with professional organizations and redefine homemaking. »


Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate responsible for Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce, Crafts and Tourism, wants to apply her measure to homemade products in 2025.

Fabien Cottereau Archives/ “Sud Ouest”

“Very loose structure”

Good news and recognition for those who already practice homemade cooking? In Bordeaux, the metropolis with almost 3,000 restaurants, interested parties have their opinion clearly decided on the issue. Place Saint-Pierre, in the old center, the Les Vaillant restaurant boasts “100% homemade” on its facade. Stéphane Vaillant manages this address created in 2020. He offers a menu for 35 euros and, at lunch, a dish for 16 euros. Without being prohibitive, prices are, however, high. “We rely on the customer’s good taste,” he explains. I assume that we make quality cuisine with good, fresh products prepared on site. Force to say whether it is homemade or not? Yes, until now the regulatory framework was too lax.”

In his restaurant, Stéphane Vaillant claims to be “100% homemade”.


In his restaurant, Stéphane Vaillant claims to be “100% homemade”.

Guillaume Bonnaud/ “Southwest”

This restaurant owner displays the homemade label and logo, a pot with a house roof. Created in 2014, this, although based on precise criteria, is only an incentive. To meet label requirements, the the cuisine must be based on fresh products processed in the restaurant. Two sine qua non conditions. For example, a hamburger, assembled in a fast-food restaurant or in a restaurant, whose bread and steak come from industrial production, cannot claim to be made at home. The same, obviously, for dishes purchased ready-made from a wholesaler and which simply need to be reheated or placed on a plate. The exemptions concern bread, desserts, cheeses and cold cuts made by artisans and delivered to the restaurant. However, traders can freely use the homemade indication. This is not a certification validated and controlled by an independent organization. The minister’s project therefore reverses the situation. In the future, those who do not offer homemade products will have to indicate this.

“There was carelessness and no guarantee on homemade products”

Clarity

Nothing to bother David Fourtou of Café Sainte-Croix, not far from the train station. Bordeaux. “My food is already 90% homemade,” says the restaurant owner, who does not advertise it in his establishment. And for those who use “ready-made” products? “It’s not about stigmatizing people who make industrial cuisine”, responds Franck Chaumès, president of the Trade and Hotel Industries Union of Gironde. (Umih33). We want clarity in our dishes. As with detailed clothing labels, the consumer has the right to know what they are eating. There was carelessness and no guarantee from the caretaker. We want more recognized legitimacy for those who cook at home, without opposing restaurant styles. »

Umih representative and Bordeaux restaurateur, Franck Chaumès, wants “clarity in the dishes”.


Umih representative and Bordeaux restaurateur, Franck Chaumès, wants “clarity in the dishes”.

Thierry DAVID Archives/ “Sud Ouest”

For months, in the company of the star chef Thierry Marx, confederal president of Umih, defended homemade products for Olivia Grégoire. Gironde restaurateur, Franck Chaumès is also national president of the catering business in Umih. And he ended up winning the case. “The objective is to defend French gastronomy, but also to promote the work of restaurateurs and above all to protect the consumer”, guarantees the ministry.

Based in Bacalan in particular, restaurateur Frédéric Coiffé believes that the measure of “homemade” is not necessarily helpful.


Based in Bacalan in particular, restaurateur Frédéric Coiffé believes that the measure of “homemade” is not necessarily helpful.

Laurent Theillet Archives/ “Sud Ouest”

The customer decides

Well-informed about the contents of their plate, consumers will be able to choose to eat with total “awareness”. And do you agree to pay more? Bordeaux chef Frédéric Coiffé, who mainly runs Bar de la Marine in the Bacalan neighborhood, has doubts. He trusts his customers’ common sense: “I don’t need to justify that I prepare homemade food. This measure will disturb the margoulins, that’s for sure. But when you go to the hairdresser do you ask if he knows how to cut hair? »

Economist Olivier Gergaud defends the idea of ​​reducing VAT for homemade products.


Economist Olivier Gergaud defends the idea of ​​reducing VAT for homemade products.

Laurent Theillet Archives/ “Sud Ouest”

Kedge Bordeaux business school economist Olivier Gergaud puts this view into perspective. In 2018, he had already dedicated a column to homemade products in “Le Monde”. “Ensuring that consumers know what they are eating is good”, he explains to “Sud Ouest”, citing the work of American economist George Akerlof, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2001. Poor quality takes away from the right in any sector that does not create signals that allow consumers to acquire the quality they seek with full knowledge of the facts. »

With a few exceptions, “homemade” products must be fresh, raw and processed in the restaurant kitchen.


With a few exceptions, “homemade” products must be fresh, raw and processed in the restaurant kitchen.

Guillaume Bonnaud/ “Southwest”

A sector under tension

Economist Olivier Gergaud highlights that the use of industrial dishes follows a financial logic: “Extracting profits is quite difficult in the restaurant business, ready-made meals save time and personnel”. And this in a professional sector under extreme tension, especially since the end of the health crisis, in a context of inflation. “At national level, there is a shortage of 200,000 employees”, says Franck Chaumès. This is also noted by Alexis Legros, manager of the Bordeaux restaurant Chez Auguste, place de la Victoire: “Claiming that it is homemade doesn’t change much. There are other more important issues, such as competition from the Uberization of meals delivered to the couch or the lack of vocations we find in the catering industry. » Hence the idea put forward by Olivier Gergaud of giving space to restaurateurs: “We could invent a “score”: the more homemade it is, the less VAT the restaurant pays, which would add value to the purchase of good raw materials. » “This idea is not on the table”, responds Olivia Grégoire’s office. But this will be studied when the time comes. »

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