Business Transfer | Lafleur restaurants from father to son

On Sunday, Father’s Day, there was the traditional family brunch for George Papagiannis and a discussion by FaceTime with his father Achille on vacation in Greece. One event added a special color to the celebrations this time, namely the completion of the transfer of the Lafleur restaurants. George Papagiannis is the official president of the brand that was born in a potato car in 1951 and took its present form in 1961 on rue Lafleur in LaSalle.

Posted at 9:00 am

Isabel Mass

Isabel Mass
The press

Lots of things happen at the Papagiannis. “Also recently, my father sold the Le Petit Québec restaurants to my father’s brother and we bought 100% of Lafleur restaurants,” says George Papagiannis in an interview. Today we have 100% of the Lafleur and La Belle Province restaurants. »

“I am very proud of what my father has built over the decades,” he continues. He worked very hard to get to this level. »

This Greek immigrant, who arrived in Quebec in 1971 at the age of 16, quickly found himself in restaurants. “Without speaking the language,” recalls Achille Papagiannis. I learned French and English at work. »

Five years later he owned a restaurant, La Belle Province, in Saint-Hubert. He later owned the Le Petit Québec brand with his older brother, which Lafleur Restaurants acquired in 2011. At his father’s request, George Papagiannis found himself at the bar at the weekend from the age of 10, helping the family and, knowingly or not, doing his scales. He later studied administration and economics, always keeping in mind never to deviate from the family business. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says. As if I was born for it. »

Today he represents the second generation of Papagiannis at the helm of Lafleur restaurants. His father will stay by his side. “His advice is really important and I still learn from him every day,” says George Papagiannis.

I too learn a lot from him. George has new ideas to grow the business. It makes me see certain things differently, for the better.

Achilles Papagiannis

By 2027, George Papagiannis wants to increase the number of restaurants from 16 (15 in his own name and 1 franchise) to 32. “We’ve already started to modernize our restaurants,” he says. We have a branch in Lachine that we will destroy and rebuild. She needs some love! »

Management is looking to the North Shore and South Shore to continue growth. “We want to grow everywhere in Quebec, of course in the most densely populated areas,” explains George Papagiannis. We conducted a study to find out which locations are strategic and effective. But nothing is confirmed for now. »

family

Otherwise, the new President appreciates the family spirit of Restaurants Lafleur, both for his clan and for his 200 employees. “There is a shortage of labour, of products and of supply problems,” enumerates George Papagiannis. We try to do our best. We pay good salaries with group insurance. We’re not really into robotization, but we’re not closed to the idea. We have a reputation for hand slicing potatoes in front of the customer and I want it to stay that way. The most important thing is to strengthen our team. »

When the aid runs out, at least everyone pitches in. “We work hard together,” summarizes George Papagiannis. I like that our Lafleur restaurants are like a family. There is a lot of history behind it. It’s a real Quebec brand, founded in 1951, before McDonald’s. We want to keep the family aspect of the restaurants. We’re back to work in the kitchen. Even my accountant has already come to help us. »

Is George Papagiannis, who has three children (8, 10 and 14), already preparing a successor at the Lafleur restaurant? “If they like it, I’d like to pass the business on to them, but it has to come from them,” replies the President. You have to love what you do to do it well. »

In the meantime, guess who will be the brand’s young new catering worker at Dad’s request? “We lack manpower, we need all sorts of hands,” recalls George Papagiannis. She gladly accepted. »

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