The owner of Montreal’s very own affordable but a little upscale comfort food restaurant chain L’Gros Luxe popped up on CBC investment show Dragons’ Den to help expand his business.
For the uninitiated, Dragons’ Den is a long-running reality-ish TV concept imported from Japan over a decade ago. Budding entrepreneurs appear on the show, asking a panel of cashed-up venture capitalists (the “Dragons”) to invest in their product or company, which can vary from inventors peddling some form of a wonder sponge, right through to established businesspeople like Alex Bastide, L’Gros Luxe’s owner.
Bastide’s pitch appears not to have made it to air in last night’s episode — billed as a bonus pitch, it can be watched on CBC’s website.
Bastide asked the panel for a $300,000 investment in L’Gros Luxe, in exchange for 10 percent ownership of the company, meaning by Bastide’s count, the six-restaurant operation is worth $3 million. Here’s how it went down (caution — spoilers ahead):
- CBC’s voiceover talent shows extreme ineptitude at French, calling the restaurant “El Gros Luxe”.
- Bastide and his team offer the judges their characteristic Bloody Caesars loaded up with burgers and onion rings as garnishes. Joe Mimran (the fashionable dragon) struggles with this concept, noting that “it’s hard to drink”.
- The six Gros Luxe locations across Greater Montreal and Quebec City reportedly turn $11.2 million in sales each year. Each restaurant pays a chunk of its sales into a central company. Bastide explains that this money will be used to turn it into a bigger franchise operation.
- L’Gros Luxe apparently has another two restaurants in the works imminently — no word where those will be.
- Dragon Jim Treliving rejects L’Gros Luxe for the bizarrely francophobic reason that its name is too French, and that didn’t work out for Quebec chicken chain St. Hubert when it tried to expand.
- Bastide says his company is growing too fast to keep up alone; dragon Manjit Minhas finds that suspicious. “If it looks to good to be true...there’s something not right here. I’m out.”
- Bastide: “This concept is bulletproof.” Dragon Michele Romanow: “Well, nothing’s bulletproof.”
- Dragon Joe Mimran doesn’t want in, but is at least nice about it: “I like what you’ve done as well, the restaurant business is very competitive and I really commend you for getting to this point.”
- Ultimately, Michael Wekerle (the “cool rock Dragon”) coughs up the $300,000 — but for 20 percent of the company.