In the hall of the commercial court of Evry-Courcouronnes (Essonne), Stéphanie, 33, assistant manager in the restaurant of Orléans (Loiret), is impatient.
While the future of Courtepaille is played a few meters away, this Monday, September 14, in the courtroom where the three candidates for the takeover detail their offer in turn, this CGT union delegate is there to support her favorite.
"From a social point of view, the Buffalo Grill proposal is the most interesting", she assures, supporting figures: "out of the 187 restaurants in branches, they would take 145 plus eight establishments that would switch to franchisees.
Against 140 and 131 for the other two, ”she says, while the three also propose to keep the 92 franchised restaurants.
Placed in receivership at the end of July, Courtepaille suffered the full brunt of the Covid-19 health crisis, with turnover falling over the year.
Four buyers submitted an offer on August 24: Buffalo Grill, therefore, the Bertrand group (Burger King, Hippopotamus…), the investment fund Butler Capital and Naxicap, which has since withdrawn.
"We would obviously have preferred a project of total resumption of activities", regrets Pascal Zoublir, central delegate CGT, also present in court.
"But with Buffalo Grill, we limit the breakage", he adds, while Jocelyn Olive, the general manager of the head of catering at the table, is committed, in Le Parisien - Today in France, to “Preserve 85% of jobs”.
"Not to mention that his reclassification proposals are also more interesting and precise", specifies the trade unionist.
"I'm afraid we'll soon relive the same story"
However, Buffalo Grill's offer is not unanimous.
Especially since the Bertrand group has revised its upwards, going from a proposal of 127 to 140 restaurants in branches taken over (in addition to the 92 franchisees).
“Personally, I tend to favor Olivier Bertrand.
He has more experience in business turnarounds and has better financial strength.
It's more reassuring in the long term ”, pleads Yan Dubaele, executive assistant at the restaurant of the Stade de France (Seine-Saint-Denis) and central delegate CFTC.
“On paper, Buffalo's offer looks more interesting.
But let's not forget that they belong to an English investment fund.
They also want to switch 35% of the fleet to franchisees within two years and move the headquarters.
I'm afraid we'll soon relive the same story, ”he adds.
According to Stéphanie Dayan, national secretary for the federation of services - CFDT, the Bertrand group's offer would also be "supported by staff representatives": "It is a French group with solid shoulders which proposes to buy a French company and which rather has a culture of social dialogue.
So, for us, there is not too much hesitation to have, ”she says.
The name of the future buyer should only be known in ten days, a priori on September 25.
And the employees can't wait.
“This climate of uncertainty weighs on us.
Especially since many of us are still in partial activity, with a loss of income, therefore, because some restaurants are still closed or are idling, sighs Laëtitia, table host at the restaurant in Villiers-en-Bière ( Seine-et-Marne) and elected CGT.
We can't wait for it to end, to finally know.