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Paris Baguette Franchisees Fill Vital Bakery Niche in Puerto Rico, Powered by a Five-Generation Family Legacy

Entrepreneurs Harry Chen and Shirley Chen leverage deep local ties and extensive business acumen to introduce the beloved global bakery café to Puerto Rico's vibrant market for the very first time.

Harry Chen and Shirley Chen, seasoned entrepreneurs with a diverse business background spanning the restaurant, food distribution, real estate and retail industries, are now introducing Paris Baguette, the globally beloved neighborhood bakery café franchise, to a whole new part of the world: Puerto Rico. 

The duo have already established themselves as dynamic business operators across various sectors in Puerto Rico, with Shirley having an extensive business operating background and deep familial ties to the island that go back over five decades and Harry’s real estate and private equity expertise from New York. 

The decision to franchise with Paris Baguette was influenced by Harry's lifelong familiarity with the brand from his time in New York and the realization that such a product could fill a gap in the local market where consumers are eager for new and exciting food and beverage options. Shirley, having grown up on the island, is excited to introduce this beloved brand locally and looks forward to creating added value in the community through the new job opportunities this venture will create. Overall, they are excited to not only open a new business, but also to enrich the local culinary scene, creating a gathering place that resonates with the Puerto Rican community. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Harry Chen and Shirley Chen to learn more about their backgrounds, their introduction to Paris Baguette and their plans for the future. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Shirley: I was born in Colombia from Chinese parents and we moved to Puerto Rico when I was 4 years old. I grew up in Puerto Rico and went to school here. I come from a business operating background, following in the footsteps of my parents and in-laws' 50-plus-year legacy on the island. Our family’s businesses span across various industries such as food distribution, restaurant industry, cannabis industry, retail and real estate. 

Harry: I come from a real estate and private equity background in New York. After the COVID-19 pandemic, I visited the island along with family and friends. I enjoyed the weather and beautiful beaches, but most of all, the kind people and friendly culture. I decided to relocate and Puerto Rico has been home ever since. Nowadays, I am still involved in real estate activities as a full-time resident of Puerto Rico.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

HarryFranchises are really a scientifically-proven restaurant model. They have stood the test of time. The return might be slightly lower than starting something from scratch, but you get a longer-term investment with fewer risks along the way. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Harry: Growing up in New York, I've been exposed to Paris Baguette my entire life. After spending some time in Puerto Rico, I realized there wasn't a bakery, or cake shop franchise on the island. We didn't have the expertise to start such a business on our own, so we knew a model like Paris Baguette with its products would be very successful. With over 3 million residents and more than 5 million tourists visiting annually, the potential for growth is substantial.

Shirley: I am very excited about this venture because growing up in a Chinese household, pastries and baked goods are a big part of our culture. Like Harry mentioned, there really aren’t many options of shops specialized in baked goods and cakes on the island. 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. 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. 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. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Shirley: We’ve signed on for one territory. Based on our market research, our goal is to open around four units on the island. We are excited to expand and grow our footprint and look forward to Paris Baguette becoming a household name in Puerto Rico.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Shirley: In any business venture, it's very important to do your due diligence, understand the brand, the product and your audience. As a franchisee, it should not be any different. Most importantly, you need to be aligned with the brand and the product itself. If you don’t believe in the product, it doesn’t matter how much support you get from the franchisor, it isn’t going to translate into the operation, and ultimately will trickle into your customer’s experience. Really, it's all about making sure it is right for you before jumping in. For us, Paris Baguette was just the right franchise, with the right product, at the right time. 

The total investment to franchise with Paris Baguette ranges from $652,565 to $1,750,900, including a $50,000 franchise fee. For more information, please visit


Paris Baguette is a bakery café franchise with more than 4,000 units across the globe. The brand first started franchising in 2015 in the U.S. and has since established more than 125 locations in markets across the country, making it one of the premier franchise opportunities in its category. Paris Baguette’s primary mission, executed every day by its expert staff of bakers, cakers and baristas, is to share moments of joy with customers and help customers share moments of joy with their friends and family by providing world-class cakes, pastries, coffees, breads and other French-inspired bakery café fare. For more information, please visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.