Moonachie, N.J. — Paris Baguette, the bakery café concept with 4,000 units worldwide, currently has nearly 150 units open in the U.S. and is working toward reaching the 1,000 unit mark in the States by 2030. After a great end to 2022, the concept has kicked off 2023 by signing 40 franchise agreements and opening one restaurant per week in the first quarter.
“We are very proud of the momentum we have. Last year we opened 24 stores. This year, we are more than halfway there in just 3 months,” says Mark Mele, chief development officer. “There has been a tremendous amount of franchise growth activity this year. I expect it to continue through Q2.”
The 13 openings were in Texas, New Jersey, California and New York. The Sunset Park location in Brooklyn, N.Y., has seen incredible sales and is already outpacing more than 10 of its predecessor stores, Mele says.
“The sales are impressive, but what’s happening is that guest count continues to grow for this brand,” he explains. “If you read restaurant publications, some brands are reporting an increase in average sales, but when you unpack that a little, you see that they’ve also raised prices. It appears that they’re exploding, but much of that increase has been manufactured.”
“We haven’t raised prices,” he says. “Our guest count is up, which is really telling. We have a great offering, and people are flocking in.”
Looking to the rest of the year, Mele says the brand is focusing on building out communities where Paris Baguette is already established, but with a lower concentration. There are bakery cafés open in the Detroit suburbs; Houston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Boston; South Carolina; Arizona; Nevada; Oregon; and Kansas, but there is market availability to add more.
“For guests who have never been in a café before, that’s exactly what it is,” Mele says. “They come in, experience it for the first time, and they’re impressed by the food, the environment and the building. Within a short period of time, because of the quality offering and the nice ambiance — because of our 3.0 prototype — they feel a warm welcome and become a fan.”
Mele has remained determined about the role the new prototype has played in the brand’s recent growth. Both in the context of franchise expansion and increased guest counts, the new look and feel of the bakery cafés is a key differentiating factor.
“A lot of the conversations I’ve had with existing and prospective franchisees recently center on the prototype,” he says. “The 3.0 prototype dovetails into everything we’ve been talking about — sales, guest counts going up and a great experience inside the café. We spent a lot of time picking out the finishings and design so it doesn’t look cheap. It all looks rich, and that adds something to the experience.”
“We’re already a higher-end, higher-quality bakery, and we put a nice bow around that with the 3.0 prototype. It’s just a really nice place to indulge,” Mele says.
In the coming months, the brand is honing its development efforts in Dallas; Houston; Austin, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Columbus, Ohio; Raleigh, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and South Carolina.
Paris Baguette is a bakery café franchise with more than 4,000 units across the globe. The brand first started franchising in 2015 in the U.S. and has since established more than 125 locations in markets across the country. For more information, visit https://parisbaguette.com/franchising/.
SOURCE: Paris Baguette