Paris Baguette — a South Korean bakery and café chain with U.S. operations based in New Jersey — has exploded in growth over the last several years. From 2021 to 2022, the mid-sized chain grew by 25%, opening 24 stores in 12 months, with substantial expansion plans in the works for the future (this year, the company has already opened 18 locations). By the end of 2023, Paris Baguette expects to have 200 bakeries open, which would double its footprint in just two years.
Much of this massive growth comes from the fact that the brand has very little competition in the space. Whereas most of Paris Baguette’s bakery-café competitors have drifted over into sandwiches and other lunch items, Paris Baguette almost exclusively focuses on baked goods and beverages.
“We’ve reset the entire brand over the past three years,” Darren Tipton, CEO of Paris Baguette, told Nation’s Restaurant News in an interview earlier this year. “If you look at how we’ve come out of the pandemic to now, it’s very exciting. No one is doing what we’re doing. About 80% of what we sell is bread, pastries, and cake, and we’re going to stay true to who we are.”
The Paris Baguette team’s strategy of becoming the No. 1 brand in the strictly-bakery segment instead of expanding to other menu categories is working. Right now, the brand is heavily situated on both coasts in the U.S., but it has plans to expand to middle America and open up neighborhood bakeries in more cities soon.
In 2022, Paris Baguette expanded its beverage program with the announcement of a partnership with Lavazza. The partnership not only provided new coffee options for customers, but also enhanced digital marketing initiatives, like the reusable cup for Earth Day promotion that was designed by TikTok artist Matt Chessco.
The company also began rolling out a new store design with a modern café layout, digital menuboards and new omnichannel capabilities for mobile and digital orders. The new store designs take inspiration from French bakeries and bistros, Tipton said, are open kitchen concepts, and more prominently showcase the array of pastries and cakes for sale. Tipton described the new design as a “throwback to classic mom and pop bakeries.”
“We took the pandemic to reset the American model,” Tipton said. “For us, it was really about reestablishing the neighborhood bakery, which is a heart of the community. … Our new prototype I think really reflects and represents who we are in the industry. Our AUVs and our results are really strong, and … we could be looking at 100 openings a year in 2024 and beyond.”
In 2022, Paris Baguette’s sales growth grew by 36% to $257.2 million in annual sales, and the company jumped up 22 spots on the NRN Top 500 to the 159 spot.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]