Restaurateur and neighbor of the Olympic village, Paul Chemama is banking on the post-Games

Paul Chemama has a nose

Restaurateur and neighbor of the Olympic village, Paul Chemama is banking on the post-Games

Paul Chemama has a nose. When, in 2015, this smiling sixty-year-old opened the first franchise of the BCHEF “gourmet” burger restaurant chain, in Ile-Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), he had not imagined that the Games Olympic and Paralympic Games of Paris 2024 would be located a few steps from its establishment. The latter, a cross between fast food and a cozy restaurant, is located in the heart of the Marques Avenue shopping center, which has made sport one of its development axes.

A short walk north of the mall, the Olympic Village will host approximately 14,500 athletes and executives during the Olympics (July 26 to August 8) and 9,000 during the Paralympics (August 28 to September 8). The Nike, Adidas and Le Coq sportif stores could attract these visitors who love sporting goods to the shopping center, but Paul Chemama prefers to remain cautious: “Will the security of the Olympic village make the shopping center accessible to visitors and to athletes? “, he asks.

For this reason, this sports enthusiast, who plays golf and chaired a football club for fifteen years, does not expect an explosion in the number of his customers during the Games period. He nevertheless plans to install a screen to allow his customers to follow the Olympic events live and to have additional tables if necessary.

The prospect and proximity of the Games excite him. “I want to be a participant in this event at my level,” he says. I signed up for the transportation and hospitality volunteer program. » If he was selected as a volunteer, Paul Chemama planned to recruit additional staff in order to free himself from the daily management of his restaurant.

The Games constitute, according to him, “a fantastic opportunity for Seine-Saint-Denis and for the district”. But it is especially after the Games that the impact will be the most significant. He is delighted that the district is "opened up" with the development work carried out for the Games, the creation of a new footbridge linking the two parts of the Olympic village located on either side of the Seine and the arrival of new businesses and residents.

In 2025, the Olympic Village will in fact become a new “eco-city” with 3,500 homes. Life in the neighborhood will be turned upside down and Paul Chemama expects a significant increase in attendance at his establishment, which currently welcomes 60,000 customers per year. “In the eight years that I have been here, I have seen the city transform,” he notes. My clientele has already changed considerably: there are more Parisians and people who come to invest or buy housing here. »

The work carried out in recent years to prepare for the Games has penalized the shopping center, making access more difficult. Paul Chemama was then able to notice a clear loss of attendance: “It was a very complicated period and we suffered considerably from this situation,” says the restaurateur, who is counting on the post-Games period to “bounce back”. Optimism seems second nature to him: “It’s going to be great,” he assures.