Coming from a family of restaurateurs, Thomas Fantini was quickly trained in the catering trade. Bartender, cook, waiter … It’s in his uncle’s restaurant, “Chez Carmen”, that he takes his first steps. At the end of his sales studies, Thomas Fantini instinctively returned to his roots by moving towards the restaurant business. It was not until 2002 that he opened his first restaurant in the Saint-Cyprien district: “the Varsi“.
Two years later, he resumed The Pergola, in Lardenne. An old Toulouse institution to which he wanted to add his two cents. Wine, copious plates, local products, rugby, conviviality … Like any good Toulousain, Thomas Fantini carries the colors of the South-West high. With 11 sites to his credit, this entrepreneur is now at the head ofPergo spirit, which has become a benchmark for gastronomy and hospitality in Toulouse. Restaurants, catering services, delicatessen, wine cellar, pastry shop … If he is the instigator of this empire, Thomas Fantini never fails to mention “his exceptional team” of 90 employees and associates.
At the same time, Thomas Fantini got involved with the Movement of French companies (Medef) of Haute-Garonne in 2016. Thanks to his involvement with this organization, he became vice-president responsible for food, events, tourism and sport in September 2020. It thus works to support entrepreneurial members. This commitment is all the more important given that the health crisis is hurting many sectors, including his. Thus, his involvement in Medef is also useful for him to anticipate the future of his profession and to manage his own establishments. With the hyperactive entrepreneur’s cap removed, Thomas Fantini turns out to be a father very attached to family values. Dad of a little girl, he shares his life with his pastry partner.
As a restaurateur, how did you experience the pandemic?
It was very difficult and brutal. Our teams were still on partial unemployment when I was more active in continuing to take care of my restaurants. In 2020 we lost 50% of turnover on all sites. The activity resumed well upon reopening, but with the introduction of the health pass, it again declined.
Paradoxically, on the catering and pastry side, we had trouble keeping up and we lacked collaborators. The teams have been put in difficulty and it is very difficult to recruit. But I like to find positive things everywhere, so I will say that this period still allowed me to strengthen the bonds with my loved ones and to spend time with my family. Chosen which is difficult to do in my daily life. And then professionally, this period informed us of such things as mutual aid. We will emerge more from the forts.
What are your plans now?
Preserve my teams. We must recruit to provide additional skills and relieve the staff. Moreover, we have just closed the Pergola on weekends for the winter period so that our teams can have more free and relieved time.
What is your favorite place in Toulouse?
The Lardenne district because I was born there and it also represents the beginning of my professional history. And then, it’s a bit of a village within a city, there is a real neighborhood life.
Your favorite restaurant in the pink city?
The Pergola ! Because it’s mine and it’s a bit like my second home. I find my friends and family there and I meet great people there.
Which movie do you never tire of?
The magnificent, car I love Belmondo. I’ve watched it dozens of times already. It’s a movie full of cult lines and it almost came out when I was born.
Your favorite fictional character?
I would say Superman because he saves others at the expense of himself.
What is the super power that you would like to have?
Teleportation. When on all these establishments, on a desire to be present everywhere.
Your favorite singer?
Gainsbourg because I love the character and the rhythm of his music.
The drink that makes you better?
Wine ! I don’t like strong alcohol.
Your favourite meal ?
I hesitate between the chicken, because it is my madeleine of Proust, and the pasta, because it refers to my paternal origins.
Rather TFC or Stade Toulousain?
The two. These are two clubs which make the city of Toulouse shine and which are important to me. Stade Toulousain because I played rugby when I was young and TFC because we are the club’s caterers.
The trip you dream of?
Anywhere as long as my family is there. With work, we do not have enough opportunity to meet.
Your favorite animal?
The dog. With my company, we have two: Shelby and Iron.
Do you have a phobia?
Spiders and their webs. I annoy everyone with that at home and in my restaurants!
What is the chosen one that annoys you the most?
Injustice can make me lose my temper.
Do you have an idea ?
“Always more”, in reference to surpassing oneself, but also for others.