Jamaican Patty Foodservice Concept ‘Patties Express’ Launches Key Expansion in Toronto Market: GM Interview

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No matter what time of day you walk into a Patties Express location in Toronto you’ll get Jamaican patties that are fresh and hot.

It’s one of the reasons for the brand’s success, said General Manager Aziz Mostafa, as the company looks to expand its footprint over the next few months.

Patties Express first started in 2014 at Yonge and Elm Streets in Toronto. Today it has three locations – the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket and in The PATH at 65 Queen St. West in downtown Toronto. The Elm Street location in Toronto shut down for a new condo development on the property.

Mostafa said it will open three more locations by the end of this year – the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Commerce Court and Union Station.

He said CF Toronto Eaton Centre is expected to open in August.

Image: Patties Express

“We run a simple operation. We sell Jamaican patties, cold drinks and Coco bread. We focus on quality product, customer service and trying not to waste people’s time as much as possible. People have meetings to attend and lunch breaks that don’t last forever. Every customer should be in and out of the store as quickly as possible” said Mostafa.

“There was never an intent to include a seating area back when we conceptualized the business. When we started Patties Express at Elm Street, the idea was to incorporate Patties Express into the customers day to day activities as opposed to how can they take time off to sit at our space for a while to eat”

Aziz Mostafa

“We’re just taking it slow and steady right now in discovering opportunities that fit into what we would like for the business and it’s future. A lot of the opportunities we have right now grew organic through people reaching out to us while visiting our stores and starting conversations. That’s really how the Eaton Centre deal came about as well; one of our customers, Ivolyn, put us in touch with some people she knew over at Cadillac Fairview and the rest was history.”

Mostafa said Jamaican patties in Toronto have always been a staple of food for snacking. People buy dozens of them, or half dozens, to take to their offices to share with co-workers. It’s a quick snack or a lunch. 

“When we were opening our first store, we wanted to tackle things that were possibly missing in the market. After finding out what those things were, it was a matter of simplifying our operation and separating ourself from the crowd.”

Patties Express at Thomson Building in Downtown Toronto (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“For me personally, I always make sure the product is as good as promised. When people come in and have a conversation, I always remember that conversation and where we left off, next time they pass by we continue with that conversation. The customers come in and talk to me about pretty much everything. There’s a genuine care and attention expressed on the job and I enjoy it more than anything. I guess that could also be part of the package for some people, they come for the food and the connection we built.”

“The product is always fresh and it comes out fresh every 20 minutes. There’s not a time of day when you’re going to get it not hot and fresh. We make it fresh daily at our bakery and bake it fresh throughout the day. Even if you come by during the last five minutes before closing you’re still going to get the same fresh product as if it was five minutes into opening”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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