Franchise Development Leader: Angel Santiago of Le Macaron French Pastries
Franchise Development Leader: Angel Santiago of Le Macaron French Pastries

Le Macaron French Pastries’ marketing director explains why the brand is looking for more franchisees, especially in large cities.

If it were up to Angel Santiago, marketing director for Le Macaron French Pastries, he would multiply himself so that he could spend more time and communicate even more than he already does with the company’s franchisees.

Le Macaron is a family business that was started by Rosalie Guillem and her daughter, Audrey Guillem-Saba. The idea was to bring authentic French macarons to American consumers and make sure they were getting the real thing.

The company opened its first store in 2009 in Sarasota, Florida. It started franchising in 2012. Today, Le Macaron has 49 locations throughout the United States, most of them in Florida, and the company hopes to end 2018 with 60 locations in total, according to Santiago. Le Macaron is specifically aiming at larger and growing cities that have lots of foot traffic. Santiago cited Austin, Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco as especially desirable locations.

Visitors who enter a Le Macaron store will see that it’s designed with a goal in mind. The stores are often colorful with a Parisian theme, and while macarons are the star offering, there are other sweet treats available.

Santiago started off at Le Macaron as a franchisee in 2014 in San Juan, Puerto Rico before becoming the company’s marketing director in 2016. In his current position, Santiago is in charge of the company’s brand presence, social media and website development. He also works closely with the company’s franchisees, focusing on their needs and guiding them throughout the franchise experience. He travels monthly to the company’s headquarters and visits individual franchise locations that have made specific help requests.

When asked if there was anything he could change about franchising, he does wish there was a better communication system. It’s not that he doesn’t communicate with franchisees now, but he wishes there was a way to open the lines of communication even further, perhaps through some kind of technology.

“But for that I think I just need to multiply myself and be with them every day,” he said.

The secret to Le Macaron’s franchise success is offering “something that makes people fall in love with the product and with the concept and then be an example to customers but also immigrants that are looking for a new opportunity and also American people who want to work by themselves,” Santiago said. “We offer that kind of opportunity.”

He has also enjoyed working in what he describes as a family-oriented atmosphere.

“We are like a family,” he said of the Le Macaron team. “The love and the passion that we have for our products is unique. We always take pride in everything that we do and we make everything with love. I think that is the best part about Le Macaron. It’s not a typical franchise concept where you only receive the guides and whatever you need to do. It’s basically a very open franchise concept where we can listen to all of the franchisees’ needs, and whatever they need, we analyze, and we try to always have a solution for them.”

Santiago noted that Le Macaron has had to change the way it communicates its products to the public.

“We need to improve every two months, three months,” he said. “We need to have something new to make sure our customers follow us.”

There’s also the matter of keeping up with changing food trends, such as the increasing demand for gluten-free and vegan options.

“In terms of lifestyle, people are more aware of their health, so we need to make sure that we have those kinds of products available,” he said. “We’re working with sugar, and every person maybe thinks that it’s candy and it’s sugar and it’s dangerous, but we always try to focus on having different options for vegans, for people who have gluten allergies or anything like that.”

Santiago also noted that many franchisees across the brand’s system come from a variety of backgrounds, including law and insurance. He said, “A lot of professions that take a lot of time for them to work and they don’t see their family or they don’t have the time to be with them on the weekends and the Le Macaron franchise concept offers that. It offers the ability to enjoy your family, work with your family.