Coquine Restaurant is a classic European Bistro with a modern twist. It represents my passion for food and my desire to have our guests feel at home—my home.
—Robert Prete, Owner
Robert Prete opened the doors to Coquine Restaurant six years ago. Located in midtown Toronto, its steady stream of new and returning guests, together with its positive reviews in social media, provide ample evidence of the success of his restaurant concept.
Robert started his career working as a busboy at Grazie, another well-known midtown eatery. Robert’s training and experience eventually encompassed every aspect of the restaurant business from bar tending to food preparation to management. Five years later he bought into Grazie. Later he sold his interest back to family members and followed his passion to open his own establishment—Coquine Restaurant.
During his formative years Robert studied under Master Chef Didier Leroy. (Master Chef Didier Leroy was awarded the prestigious title Maître Cuisinier de France in 2009, joining the ranks of only 350 international chefs honoured by France for contributing to the tradition of French gastronomy). The lessons he learned from Master Chef Leroy had a huge influence on him. These lessons, combined with his numerous visits to Balthazar Restaurant in Lower Manhattan and his visits to many acclaimed bistros throughout France helped him define his vision for Coquine Restaurant.
The result is a European-style neighbourhood bistro that offers French classics with a modern twist, friendly service and a beautiful Art Deco inspired setting. Its focus is on lunch and dinner dining occasions, and its well appointed bar and patio have proven popular with the after work crowd as well as those seeking a sophisticated but comfortable ambience for late night socializing.
These are the pillars on which the brand’s success has been built. And these brand pillars represent Robert Prete’s view of the ideal restaurant experience, an experience designed to enhance the quality of life for people who live and work in the neighbourhood and who make up the majority of his customer base.
Introducing Coquine L’Express Café
Recently, Robert opened a new restaurant, Coquine L’Express Café, in a retail space adjacent to Coquine Restaurant. The new restaurant is targeted to customers looking for a casual café dining experience—including breakfast—not offered by Coquine Restaurant. As a result, the second restaurant provides the community something new and Robert with a significant growth opportunity within the neighbourhood.
By linking his new concept to the original Coquine Restaurant through its name in a sub-brand structure, the new restaurant leverages the pillars on which Coquine Restaurant has been built and the valuable brand equity that resides in the minds of its customers. The L’Express Café part of its name signals to these customers that this new restaurant offers something different.
By making the strategic choice to enter the breakfast and café markets with a new restaurant offering rather than by stretching the Coquine Restaurant brand to serve these markets, Robert Prete has protected the authenticity of the original restaurant’s brand concept for its customers.
Guests of both restaurants know what to expect: Coquine Restaurant represents a classic European Bistro dining experience with a modern twist; The Coquine L’Express Café represents a classic European breakfast and café experience with a modern twist.
The Coquine L’Express Café concept represents a smart brand extension by a smart restaurateur and is a powerful way for Robert to build his business. Considered carefully and executed well, a smart brand extension may be a great way for you to build your business too.