In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about the Le Macaron French Pastries franchise from the company’s founder, Rosalie Guillem.
Franchise Chatter (FC): How was Le Macaron French Pastries created?
Rosalie Guillem (RG): I traveled to the United States from France frequently and ended up falling in love with the culture and the people in America. I knew I wanted to stay and bring my family here to give them every opportunity possible. I knew the best opportunity for us would be to create a business concept that America didn’t have yet.
My daughter, Audrey, and I began brainstorming and soon realized Americans often mistake the classic French macaron for another dessert. We knew this would be the chance to reunite our family while treating the American palate to the French macaron.
I teamed up with my daughter and together we decided to seek out a highly acclaimed French-trained pastry chef, along with Audrey’s husband who attended pastry school in France, to create an authentic macaron recipe capturing the spirit of French culture. Once we perfected our recipe, the first Le Macaron French Pastries opened its doors in 2009.
Now with more than 50 franchise locations open throughout the country, we have built a fan-following with guests traveling far and wide to our boutique cafés to enjoy handcrafted treats and a luxurious ambiance. Our menu has expanded to more than 20 flavors of macarons and French pastries, gelato, coffee, cakes and eclairs.
FC: What opportunities and challenges have you faced?
RG: Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business can be a daunting feat – even more so when you’re in a new country and don’t speak the primary language. I was faced with so many challenges like leaving behind my family and business in France, to sacrificing my family’s savings account to jumpstart the business.
I started one challenge at a time — beginning with the language. To set myself and my family up for success, I began taking online English classes. From there, I started networking and engraining myself in the community to learn the language better. The more involved I was, the better my English became and the more I understood the culture.
I learned so much from the challenges I had to overcome and I feel empowered knowing I was able to succeed — even after starting the business at the peak of the recession in 2009. These roadblocks and barriers have only made our family and our business stronger.
We have grown together and built an empire of French pastries — our sales were nearly $11 million in 2017 and went from producing 700 pastries daily to more than 15,000. We are prepared to grow strategically in key markets across the country and can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish next.
FC: What is unique about the Le Macaron French Pastries brand?
RG: We’ve built the entire company with originality and authenticity top of mind. All of our ingredients are gluten free and sourced from around the globe — vanilla from Madagascar, chocolate from Belgium, etc. The fresh ingredients matched with our French chefs’ culinary skills make for little bites of heaven in the form of French macarons.
We strive to give our guests the ultimate experience to escape from the everyday stresses of life. Every location provides an authentic French experience for customers as French music plays in every cafe and guests are greeted with brilliant colors and a modern interior with simple decorations.
On the business side, we operate through a simple business model that requires zero on-site baking from franchisees. All products are made by French Chef Didier Saba in the kitchen headquarters, allowing café owners to focus on customer service.
FC: Can you expand on the new franchise opportunity featuring a mobile kiosk?
RG: The new franchise opportunity aims to lean into the growing quick-serve and snack brand trend of kiosks, mobile carts, and express locations. As consumers’ on-the-go lifestyle continues to accelerate, we wanted to capitalize on these captive audiences at malls, airports, sporting events, festivals and other gatherings.
The mobile kiosk investment is also significantly more affordable than opening a full café — making it an ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to enter the space at a lower investment with a simple business model and unlimited growth potential. With a mobile kiosk, our franchise partners can reduce overhead costs and find real estate for the cart easier since it has a smaller footprint.
The new model will allow us to remain focused on our goals as we seek to reach 100 locations by 2020.