Paris Baguette Canada
Executive Q&A: Jack Moran, CEO, Paris Baguette, Canada
1851 Franchise: Tell us about your background.
Jack Moran: I grew up in Boston, the son of immigrant parents from Ireland. So I am a first-generation American. In 1986, the Hard Rock Cafe opened in New York City, and I began my hospitality industry career there. One thing led to another during my employment, and I started working with their development team. Two locations became four, which became six, and then so on. We expanded across the US and then we decided to expand across Europe. They moved my wife and I to Paris in 1999 to oversee the European business.
1851: How did you get involved with Paris Baguette?
Moran: I sort of aged out of the burger, beer, and nightlife business when I lived in Paris for four years and I became a bakery café aficionado. Whenever I had a moment to spare, I was hanging out in those little bakeries and cafés buying croissants and drinking coffee. When I moved back to the U.S. from France, I went to work for a bakery chain called Au Bon Pain. Later, I worked for a Belgian bakery café named Le Pain Quotidien. And now I’m helping Paris Baguette expand. So that’s a long way of saying I’ve been in the bakery café business for nearly 20 years.
1851: Why is Paris Baguette right for Canada?
Moran: We offer differentiation in the marketplace. We are baking everything on-site, every day. We are really and truly a bakery. In Canada, there’s a concept called COBS Bread, which one could say is a bakery, but they only bake bread. We’re broader. We make bread, baked goods, pastries and brew coffee. And then there are the layer cakes. It’s sort of a lost art in Canada as mom-and-pop bakeries have left. Cake is an exclamation point for a lot of life’s events – graduations, birthdays, engagements – and we do them very well. We still take pride in the skill and craftsmanship of layer cakes.
1851: Why is franchising a good model for Paris Baguette?
Moran: The parent company, SPC Group, has the big job of working on intellectual property and the recipes. Large companies can do that well, and they have the money to invest. But the big companies can’t generally develop that local connection. So, a franchise is a nice balance. It creates local ownership while leveraging the support of a big organization that's well funded.
1851: Who is a good candidate for Paris Baguette franchise ownership?
Moran: We want to be a local neighborhood bakery. We want to be a part of the community. We’re looking for a guy, a gal, a husband-and-wife team who are part of the community to join in the business. We really like franchise owners who are local community residents because they hire neighbors, contribute to the neighborhood, sponsor little league and hockey teams and so on.
1851: What do you need to start a Paris Baguette franchise?
Moran: First, you must have access to capital. That doesn't mean you have to be rich, but you must have some startup money. Maybe you need to raise money from family, friends or from a bank. But more than that, I think you must have a strong work ethic. The bakery business is not 9-to-5. It's coming in at three o'clock in the morning to bake and being open late in the evening and ordering products every day. Finally, I think you also have to love to serve people. If you don't love engaging with individuals on a one-to-one basis and being of service to them, you won't do well as a franchisee.
1851: What is it that you love about this type of bakery?
Moran: Sadly, I was raised in the U.S. on Velveeta cheese, white bread and Coca-Cola. When I first went to France in 1984, my life changed because I bought a real, buttery, flakey, freshly-baked croissant for the very first time. It was the most exquisite thing I had ever eaten in my entire life. It was like no croissant I’d ever experienced. That led me to a gastronomical and culinary epiphany. From that moment on, every time I would get money, I would fly to France and travel around the country and just eat the exquisite food there. A perfectly-baked croissant is the most divine creation. Eating one is an everyday French experience, but you don’t find a great croissant in Canada, except in some boutique bakeries.
1851: What's your favorite thing on the menu at Paris Baguette?
Moran: It’s called buttercream bread. It’s very light. You have to think of it almost like a very sophisticated Asian-style Twinkie. It’s injected with pastry cream. It’s so light it almost floats up to the ceiling when you are not holding it. It's amazing paired with a black coffee!
For more information about franchising with Paris Baguette Canada, please visit: https://canada.parisbaguettefamily.com/