La Prep, an upscale bistro-style quick-service restaurant specializing in freshly prepared and made-to-order food, is expanding its footprint with its new Social Bistro concept.
Naveen Seth, CEO of La Prep which is based in Toronto, has 48 restaurants across the country and big plans for expansion are in his sight.
“We want to double the size of the company over the next four years,” he said.
The locations used to be known as La Prep Daily Fresh but since Seth took over the company in 2017 the daily fresh tagline was dropped due to changes he made with the concept. It has become known as La Prep Social Bistro.
La Prep has been in business since 2010 and prior to that it was known as Cafe Supreme which had been in business for about 25 years.
Before he took over, Seth was the master franchisee for La Prep in southern Ontario. He became the master franchisee in 2000 and opened 35 restaurants until 2017 in the Greater Toronto Area. In 2017, he bought the entire brand and became the franchisor of the company.
“La Prep’s strategy has always been to be mainly in office towers and locations where there’s a captive audience, captive markets,” said Seth. “When we rebranded from Cafe Supreme to La Prep, we wanted to convey the message to our customers that La Prep is all about fresh food prepared daily and that’s how the tagline La Prep Daily Fresh came about. At that time it made sense to have that tagline and let people know we prepared everything fresh in-house.
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“But the concept of freshness evolved over time. In the last five years, we saw a significant change. What was perceived fresh food 10 years ago which was if you’re making it fresh every day in the morning that’s considered fresh. That changed. Now people are more keen in getting food made in front of them. So open kitchen concepts were being assembled in front of people. And that’s what we wanted to bring.
“And my second reason of dropping the tagline daily fresh and coming up with the Social Bistro concept was I said if I was going to expand outside the office towers and into street-front locations would people understand La Prep Daily Fresh? What is it? If they had not heard of La Prep, what would La Prep Daily Fresh mean to someone on a street-front location? It could be a grocery store. It could be a health food store. It could be a cafe. The message was not clear. So that’s why we came up with this new line Social Bistro so when people read it they know it is a bistro, this is a place where they can go to have a meeting or light snack, light lunch, coffee, speciality coffee.”
Seth said the company also opened up its kitchen and its way of serving is focused on fresh, prepared in front of the customer, food.
Many of the older locations still carry the La Prep Daily Fresh moniker. Now all new locations – six of them – are under the La Prep Social Bistro banner.
“Our goal is to convert the Daily Fresh locations into this new Social Bistro concept. They’ll all be called La Prep Social Bistro,” said Seth.
“I see Toronto as being our main market where I see potential of significant growth but all of the markets, Western Canada too. To further make it easier to grow this concept and double the size we’ve also invested almost $2 million in setting up our brand new commissary kitchen – the central kitchen – where we plan on producing a lot of our unique dressings, soups, hot entrees that will be supplied to La Prep locations across the board through distribution channels.”