Paris Baguette’s Jack Moran is an executive who has spent time in leadership positions with some of the biggest brands in franchising today, from Hard Rock Café to Au Bon Pain.
The Harvard-graduate is now heading up Paris Baguette, and is the proud CEO of the only brand in baking category that did not see a drop in sales in 2021, while significantly larger players all saw a drop in sales, including the likes of Panera Bread and Einstein Bros. By diversifying the locations of its locations, Paris Baguette did not suffer too strongly from the exodus of workers in major cities.
Paris Baguette differentiates itself by the quality of its product, and by baking all products in-store.
The bakery brand has now trained its sights on the Canadian market, a highly lucrative one that Moran sees as underserved. With ambitious plans to open 100 stores over the next ten years on Canadian soil, Paris Baguette may just become a household name across the country.
We spoke to Jack Moran about why he chose to bring the brand to Canada, and how it was able to maintain sales while other brands around it were struggling.
RP: Why has the brand chosen to expand into the Canadian market and what makes it so attractive?
JM: We looked at Canada and saw a very modern country with a diverse population and former immigrants with a very active culture. We also saw an underserved market in a growing and dynamic country that was very attractive to us.
RP: Do you believe the old-fashioned, local bakery is a concept that is in demand in Canada?
JM: I think in the Canadian customers’ mind, there is a place for bakery in their daily lives, but I don’t believe it’s an ‘old-fashioned’ bakery that is in demand but rather a local and modern bakery.
Just like every community needs hospitals, police stations and more, a bakery is also important as it provides cakes for get-togethers, birthdays, celebrations and bakery cafes help people to meet, gather and connect.
RP: How has the brand’s growth strategy had to be adjusted to grow into the Canadian market?
JM: We have had to bear in mind that Canada is the second-largest country in the world, which makes geographical distance between major cities large, so we have to map out supply chain management very carefully, and it’s important to approach our growth with city-by-city manner rather than a whole country at the same time.
RP: How has Paris Baguette set itself apart from other bakery-café concepts?
JM: First, in North America, we bake every product on site every day, which is not a commissary model. For example, we bake loaf bread and sandwich bread on site. That’s how we set ourselves apart from other bakery-cafe concepts.
The concept of Paris Baguette is ‘freshly-made’. Second, the vision of our brand is to re-establish the local bakery as the heart of the community. As a consequence, the owner should be a local franchisee who is from and of the community, and has ties with the community.
RP: Despite the pandemic and all its restrictions, how did your brand manage to maintain its sales figures, unlike many others in the baking category?
JM: Many of our competitors had high concentrations of their bakeries in downtown central cities where many offices were located. When the pandemic hit, office workers had stopped going into the city center, which turned many of them into ghost towns, and many businesses got crushed.
However, our portfolio was far more broadly based and mainly located in suburbs where people ended up living and working during the pandemic where we could easily serve them. Although we were also based in central cities such Manhattan and San Francisco that really got hurt, they only represented a small portion of our portfolio.