I’m sick of the haters. Tired of restaurants playing the victim card. Done with media demonizing third-party delivery with one-sided articles. It’s time to share the other side of the story. I have a different perspective and I know I’m not alone. Here’s my confession: I love third-party delivery. Rather than just complain, we made it work for us. This may be an unpopular opinion, but hear me out and I’ll explain.

It makes me sad when restaurants beg you to pick-up and not order delivery. Aren’t we in the so-called hospitality industry?

COVID-19 was a wake up call. A catalyst for change. We were caught in a vicious cycle. Now our day of reckoning has arrived. And I, for one, am optimistic we can come back stronger than ever.

Besides low margins, there’s another critical issue we ignored for far too long: the restaurant industry is over-saturated. And too many restaurants cause hyper-competition and undercutting — triggering the race to the bottom. How did this happen? Wall Street is partly to blame. Shocker. After the dot-com bust, many investors turned away from Silicon Valley to the hospitality sector for more reliable returns…

Uber Eats. The delivery service we love to hate. There are others of course, but for the sake of this post I’ll focus on Uber Eats since I know it best.

As a consumer, I love Uber Eats. They bring me food when I’m short on time and introduce me to new spots I never knew existed. They make me more productive, allowing me to keep working while my salad magically makes its way to my desk. They bring me joy, when after a long day, my favourite pizza is waiting for me at home. Plus, they prevent me from…

COVID 19 is about to kill restaurants by the thousands. This pandemic is the ultimate pressure test and restaurants are failing hard. Think about it: when we come out of this, your favourite food spots might not be there any more. Why are they so fucked? Let me explain.

Margins in the restaurant industry are notoriously small. Like tiny, actually. For reference, margins for banking, accounting, and legal services come in around 18–25%, healthcare 12-15%, and software 15–25%. Restaurants? 3–9%. Ya, like single digit. These razor thin profit margins have left restaurants with zero reserves. So when a crisis hits…

I wanted so bad to keep our restaurant Wolf Down open. To keep feeding people. Hoping we could bring just a bit of joy when times are tough. I wanted to be there for our loyal fans who continue to be there for us. I needed to feel like I was doing something, anything to help. And if I’m being completely honest, I was desperate to keep busy… I fear boredom more than anything. And I bore super easily.

When many started closing their doors, we chose to stay open for pickup and delivery. We operated with a skeleton crew…

Wolf Down is now half a year old. Hard to believe it’s been 6 months already. Sorry I haven’t posted since opening. I’ve been a little busy trying to figure out this whole restaurant thing. Oh, and I got engaged this summer! Apparently all I had to do was build the German boy a döner shop and — tada! — wifey material. haha.

I get asked a lot of the same questions about Wolf Down, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to finally offer some explanations — a little insight into our rationale for doing things a…

Every time we travel to a new city, I check Google to see if maybe, by chance, they might have a Berlin Doner shop there. We’ve found a few in the past — in Toronto, NYC, even one in Tokyo — but sadly, they never really lived up to those in Germany.

Then we went to Los Angeles and I found a place called Berlin’s. At the time, they had two locations, one of which happened to be near our hotel in Beverly Hills. Given our past experiences, we knew better than to get our hopes up.

We were skeptical…

So we are bringing a German Street Food restaurant to Ottawa, serving Berlin doners, but there are still a lot of questions that need answering. What’s the name? Where? When? Is dinner ready yet? Alright, alright. Time to dig into the details.

Let’s start with what to call it. Finding the right name is harder than it sounds. I spent months brainstorming without coming up with anything even semi-interesting. I didn’t want to go the typical route; no Doner Kings or German words none of us can pronounce. I wanted something more unique — a catchy name we can build…

Time to break the suspense and finally give you a glimpse at the mystery German street food we are excited to be bringing to you. Please allow me to introduce you to the Berlin Doner:

Feast your eyes ;)

Officially, in Germany, they call it the doner kebab. Personally, I find this very misleading as it tends to get confused with donairs (which it is not) and/or kebabs (which it is definitely not). To add to the confusion, the meat is cooked on a vertical grill, which immediately makes you think of shawarma, gyros, or tacos— which again, it is most definitely not.


So, the cat’s out of the bag: I’m opening a restaurant. I’m determined to bring Berlin Street Food, first to Ottawa, then to the rest of North America... because, go big or go home right? Plus, everyone has gotta taste this!

But, first things first: know what you don’t know. I, for instance, may know how to run a business, but I don’t know shit about running a kitchen. Nor do I have any reason to believe I’d be any good at it. Nor do I really want to, to be completely honest.

Joelle Parenteau

Startup Founder. Poker Player. Street Food Addict.

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