L.A. Bakery is expanding, franchising

L.A. Bakery is expanding, franchising

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The Carson City café wants new locations in Nevada, California, and Arizona.

It all started with farmers’ market baklava.

Ali Arbabha and Leila Tavakoli have created both a wholesale brand and a thriving brick-and-mortar bakery café, L.A. Bakery in Carson City, featuring a collection of sweets, pastries, deli sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a full breakfast menu. It has grown rapidly since its opening in 2009, when the husband-and-wife team started selling its signature baklava at local farmers’ markets under the business name Shirini Shop.

The couple runs L.A. Bakery close to their home in Carson City as well as through an online store at Labakerycafe.com, and now the owners are looking to expand. A Reno storefront is on their radar, but so are locations throughout Nevada, California, and Arizona. Specifically, they want to franchise their business model, bringing the popular baked goods imagined by Tavakoli, as well as the rest of their expanded food menu, to people throughout the western states.

The franchise opportunities are available to interested and qualified parties who want to serve L.A. Bakery goods in other locations. It’s the same foods that many have become familiar with thanks to partnerships with Whole Foods and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, both of which sell L.A. Bakery’s classic baklava, a Turkish pastry made of almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and filo dough.

Every franchise contract starts with a conversation. And if the team deems you a good fit, you’ll move through the rest of the process, which includes pre-qualification, a franchise agreement, a background check, and more. After all of the requirements have been met, potential franchisees head to Carson City for on-site meetings.

The final review and approval process requires an OK from the executive team, a signed franchise agreement, site selection, and site approval.

“Once you sign a lease, we’ll begin an extensive training program, which provides your team with all the knowledge and hands-on training needed in preparation for your bakery café opening,” Arbabha says. “To prepare for your big opening day, our operations and marketing teams will work with you to get all the details finalized. From final store training to local store marketing, we’ll be with you each step of the way.”

After a new store is launched, the partnership continues. Part of L.A. Bakery’s training model is continued support and education, such as classroom training, on-site training, field support, social media marketing support, and local marketing support.

Interior of L.A. Bakery

Those who franchise can choose between the company’s standard bakery model or its express option.

Food Prepared with Love

The business is more than your average café. The pastry recipes have been perfected by Tavakoli, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry before pursuing a career in the food industry. Food is chemistry, after all. She is a skilled restaurant operator, pastry maker, and cake decorator experienced in developing the training program for new employees. And, more recently, with the help of Sara Tavakolitaraghi, the pastry and cake operations manager, who holds a bachelor’s degree in food industry and a master’s degree in business. She has a considerable amount of experience in the restaurant industry and joined L.A. Bakery in 2010 as a baker and cake decorator.

“Our culinary philosophy centers around wholesome cooking techniques that preserve the nutritional integrity of our ingredients,” Arbabha says. “Every meal is prepared with care, allowing you to enjoy the deliciousness and health benefits of real food.”

Many appreciate the allergy-friendly offerings at L.A. Bakery, allowing those with food allergies and dietary sensitivities to enjoy delicious baked goods and other meals. Specifically, the baklava is made without trans-fat, is vegan-friendly, and, for Whole Foods, is baked with organic ingredients. Many of the other baked goods are vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and/or sugar-free.

The rest of the menu focuses on breakfast items, including bagel sandwiches and pancakes, as well as quiches, sandwiches, salads, and soups for lunch. The large space includes plenty of tables and chairs for guests, and when the weather is nice, the outdoor patio can be utilized as well.

Assortment of breakfast items available at L.A. Bakery

The baked goods are perhaps the star of the show, boasting a menu of creative concoctions and classics, including muffins, cakes, cookies, sticky buns, cream puffs, toffee, and baklava. Pies and cakes are available on the online store as well. The shop also sells brewed, acid-free coffees made with beans from Reno’s Hub Coffee Roasters, as well as espresso, cappuccino, and smoothies.

To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit Labakeryfranchising.com

L.A. Bakery Cafe & Eatery
1280 North Curry St., Carson City

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.


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