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Paris Baguette expands into Puerto Rico with local partners

Entrepreneurs Harry and Shirley Chen have begun searching for real estate to develop their new bakery café.

Paris Baguette, the bakery café concept with 4,000 locations worldwide, announced its debut in Puerto Rico in partnership with island residents and entrepreneurs Harry Chen and Shirley Chen. They recently executed a single-unit franchise agreement and have begun scouting for a location.

With more than 160 bakery cafés in the U.S., another 44 awarded and 72 leases signed, Paris Baguette has built a solid nationwide presence since opening its first franchise in 2015. A typical Paris Baguette location entails startup costs ranging from $718,065 to $1.8 million, with a $50,000 franchise fee.

“We’re on a mission to revive the concept of the neighborhood bakery café across the U.S., and we’re excited to see Harry and Shirley take this on in their own community,” said Eric Lavinder, chief development officer.

“No other bakery café franchisors are doing what Paris Baguette is on the same scale. Our ability to stay true to our bakery café roots while embracing rapid growth has allowed us to bring an unmatched experience to communities nationwide, and we’re proud to know that Puerto Rico will be a part of that growth,” Lavinder said.

The decision to franchise with Paris Baguette was influenced by Harry Chen’s lifelong familiarity with the brand and the realization that such a product could fill a gap in the local market. 

Shirley Chen, having grown up on the island, is excited to introduce this brand locally and looks forward to creating added value in the community through the new job opportunities this venture will create.

“Growing up, my mom would often bake her own pastries and cakes for the enjoyment of our family. During a visit to New York, I met with Harry at a local Paris Baguette,” said Shirley Chen.

“I was in awe of the selection of products but most importantly, the freshness and the quality of the baked goods and cakes. It brought back so many beautiful childhood memories of sharing freshly baked goods with my family,” she said.

“For me, this venture is very personal. Although my mom is no longer with us, I am sure she would have loved everything about Paris Baguette. I cannot wait for our shops to become a place where families get to create their own moments of joy daily, with the rest of our community,” said Shirley Chen.

Paris Baguette supports its franchisees in identifying and analyzing prime real estate in their markets to select the option that lends itself to the most elevated experience, the company stated. 

“The real estate selection process creates a foundation upon which franchisees can develop other key aspects of the Paris Baguette experience. Rather than leveraging an impersonal, quick-service model that emphasizes quantity over quality, for example, Paris Baguette remains committed to providing a great experience to each guest,” the company stated.

“From baked goods made in-café daily to a warm atmosphere and happy, welcoming team, each aspect of the Paris Baguette model embodies the vision of a neighborhood bakery café — your neighborhood bakery café,” it added.

As its growth continues, Paris Baguette is looking to the 1,000-unit mark in the U.S. and working to expand through partnerships with local entrepreneurs “who show a genuine interest in uniting their neighbors through connections over delicious baked goods and fresh coffee drinks,” the company noted.

The plan is to open 100 bakery cafés and award another 150 this year, focusing on bringing the Paris Baguette experience to neighborhoods in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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