Alex Bastide, the Montreal businessman behind L'Gros Luxe, a fast casual restaurant concept, has made the media rounds this past week to talk up his new mobile app, and his bold expansion plans. In a profile in La Presse to promote the L'Gros Luxe app that he personally invested $30,000 to develop, Bastide, who got his start with the Underworld skate shops, divulged his intention to open a new restaurant in the Quebec City area this November (translated): "At 2,000 square feet and with 172 places inside and on a terrasse, the Sainte-Foy restaurant will be our biggest. It's strategic for other [new L'Gros Luxe restaurants] in eastern Quebec."
The provincial capital is not the only new market on Bastide's mind. L'Gros Luxe may also invade the Big Apple next year. The allure? Lower taxes and a lower minimum wage: "The American market is more interesting. We pay less in taxes, and the waitstaff salaries aren't as high. You're a winner even if rents are more expensive." The low cost of labour (and the inability to unionize), of course, is wonderful for bosses like Bastide, but not so good for ordinary folks. Bastide may also want to take note: New York could soon follow Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles as one of the few places in America where fast-food workers make $15 per hour.
Bastide also spoke about why L'Gros Luxe has proven so popular thus far, and why so many new restaurants in Montreal come and go: "It's hell now! I feel sorry for a lot of people. I see restaurants open and close quickly, I see people who are investing fortunes. But the problem in this business, is that it's chefs who often open restaurants. They're passionate, but don't know how to get people to their restaurant, how to decorate, do marketing, and choose a good location." Read the La Presse article on Bastide in its entirety here.