When Naveen Seth took over as CEO of La Prep in 2017, “the first thing I wanted to do was freshen up the entire concept and go with a more modern feel — a more up-to-date concept where people [could] walk in and see their meal being made in front of them. So much competition has popped up and people’s perception of freshness has changed over the years — we need to reflect that in our concept.”
So in July 2018, La Prep launched a refreshed concept for its chain of restaurants with the opening of a new location in Richmond Hill, Ont. The Social Bistro restaurant concept replaced the brand’s Daily-Fresh tagline and design and is meant to better reflect the chain’s diverse menu of fresh foods in a sophisticated bistro environment.
The concept also features a new tagline — Find Your Balance — inspired by customers’ desire to lead a balanced lifestyle. “Not everybody is looking for a healthy meal all the time. Some are looking for balanced meals,” explains Seth. “We offer healthy salads if that’s what you want, but if you also want to indulge in a piece of cake, we have that as well.”
The restaurants also incorporate a grab-and-go selection of freshly prepared items — think wraps, salads, snacks and protein packs — for those who don’t have time to get their meal built.
Since its launch, Social Bistro has been introduced at four new restaurants in Ontario and Seth notes the brand plans to convert at least two of its corporate locations to the new branding this year. “Rather than converting the existing stores, my plan was to come up with this new concept of freshness and open new locations first, then we’ll convert the existing corporate locations [before approaching] franchisees with our proven results,” he explains.
To aid in the conversion process, Seth says the brand will help franchisees secure new leases — so they have time to recoup their investment — and assist them in obtaining small-business loans.
Through 2019, La Prep is set to expand its presence throughout Canada. The brand currently boasts 55 locations and plans to open approximately 14 new units across the country, including in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
In addition to expanding the Social-Bistro concept, La Prep is also planning to introduce new kiosk-style locations without seating, which will be marketed under the La Prep Fast-and-Fresh brand and will focus on prepared options for people on the go. However, for the time being, the prime focus remains on traditional locations.
“My focus was to first launch the four [new Social Bistro] locations very successfully and make sure that they’re running smoothly — that they’re achieving the results we’re looking for — and then we’ll start looking for smaller units,” says Seth.