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Why Columbus Is the Perfect Market for Paris Baguette Franchise

As this global bakery café brand prepares to open its first franchise location in Cincinnati, the franchise is already making big plans for the Columbus market as well.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
Updated 8:08AM 10/07/21

Paris Baguette, the 4,000-unit-strong global franchise of bakery cafés, plans to make a big commitment to the Columbus, Ohio market, with the possibility of opening more than 20 stores in the region, each unit bringing 15–20 jobs to the area.

The brand already has a global reputation for its freshly-baked croissants, delectable pastries, and lighter-than-air layer cakes, but only has 90 locations in the United States. That is quickly changing: Paris Baguette plans to open as many as 1,000 new units throughout the country before 2030 with target markets in the center of the country. 

Ohio represents a significant part of the brand’s growth strategy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Columbus metropolitan area is the 17th fastest-growing in the U.S. The area’s population increased by 12.2% over the last decade, reaching over 2.1 million residents, and Paris Baguette plans to expand in the region reflect this population growth.  

Cincinnati Franchisee: “I want to be part of Paris Baguette’s growth”

The Columbus expansion announcement comes after the brand is poised to make its Ohio debut in Cincinnati this year. They had no trouble finding a franchisee. Ai Lin, who already owns an independent restaurant in addition to a Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ franchise, saw the potential for the brand in Ohio. 

“Paris Baguette is truly focused on how to expand into different markets across the country,” she said. “And I want to be part of that growth.”

Specializing in house-baked pastries, croissants, sandwiches, cakes and coffee, Paris Baguette has developed an international presence with its focus on quality and a neighborhood-centered feel.

I’ve loved the brand since I discovered it in New York City in my early 20s,” she recalls. “Whenever my daughter and I travel back to New York, it’s our first stop.” 

“Ai Lin is exactly the kind of entrepreneur we were looking for to help us bring the Paris Baguette experience to Ohio,” said Mark Mele, Paris Baguette’s chief development officer. “We’re hoping to find more entrepreneurs like her to help us grow.”

Why Columbus Holds So Much Promise For Franchisees

There are a lot of reasons why Columbus is ripe for growth. With good schools and a diverse economic base, the city ranks among the Midwest’s 10 largest metropolitan areas and ranks first for population growth as well as GDP growth, according to The Columbus Region, the local economic development organization. 

Plus, with no property or corporate tax, Columbus is home to 16 Fortune 1000 companies, including brands like fashion conglomerate L Brands and Nationwide Insurances, as well as major universities and health systems. 

Another bonus for this region: The thriving, vibrant community is also home to a large diverse population (more than 80 languages are spoken throughout the region), and many have already experienced the brand while living abroad, giving the brand a running start with name recognition and a built-in fan base.  

Despite the large region, which spans 11 counties, competition from other bakery café concepts is fading, as other chains pull back on fresh, baked-on-site products and try to develop into full-service restaurants. 

With a relentless focus on quality, Paris Baguette is unmistakably a bakery-first brand. It bakes croissants, bread, layer cakes, and other assorted pastries on-site at each of its locations. 

“We are bakers, cakers and baristas in a community bakery café. It’s at the core of who we are as a brand, and right now there’s no one else that’s doing that. We increasingly have this market ourselves,” said Mele. “From the quality of fresh-baked bread for sandwiches to show-stopping layer cakes for life’s happiest moments, we are committed to doing what no other bakery-cafe chain is doing now.”

In particular, that is why Paris Baguette cakes are a highlight of the menu and an international sensation from Singapore to San Francisco. They train their cakers in the traditional art of fine cakes so that they can create desserts that bring excitement to parties and celebrations.

“Grocery-store birthday cakes simply are not the same as the cake made with dedication and love,” Darren Tipton, the brand’s CEO said. “Paris Baguette has created a reputation for providing that level of care around the world. We think it’s exactly the right fit for Columbus.” 

A Global Powerhouse With Local Charm

While the brand grows internationally, Paris Baguette is still interested in the local touch. Franchisees who are excited to have the backing of a big player in the franchise industry, while staying a part of their local communities are targets for the brand. That was a big factor in Lin’s choice to open a Cincinnati location.

“I really liked that Paris Baguette is interested in profitability but that customer service is the most important factor in the business,” said Lin. “It's hard to open a successful restaurant where every customer is taken care of, but Paris Baguette has managed to do just that.”

Mele said the best candidate for a Paris Baguette franchise is eager, hardworking and ready to be a part of the team’s success. While successful franchisees usually have some background in using spreadsheets, “passive income seekers are probably not the best fit for this brand,” he says. 

The total investment to franchise with Paris Baguette ranges from $378,270 to $1,638,554, including a $50,000 franchise fee. Paris Baguette requires franchisees to have $500,000 in liquid assets and $1,500,000 in net worth. 

Paris Baguette is open to discussing single-unit or multi-unit franchise opportunities with people who can quickly build out a market and raise brand awareness. Mele said that the store models offer a small footprint. In addition to operating as standalone buildings, the brand can also fit into non-traditional locations like malls, university campuses and transportation hubs. 

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