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Franchisee Spotlight Former Sushi and Bubble Tea Owner Expands Profile With Paris Baguette Franchise

Chen is working to open his Heartland Plaza bakery café by December with hopes to continue growing with the global franchise.

After multiple runs in independent business ownership, Jet Chen, a Canadian entrepreneur, realized that he was interested in pursuing something a bit more attainable. He went on to open several bubble tea shops in the area. After traveling to New York City and experiencing Paris Baguette, he started paying attention to the bakery café concept.

When a friend informed him that Paris Baguette would soon be awarding franchises in Canada, Chen was excited to get involved, knowing he would be supported by a brand with years of expertise and well-developed processes. Now, he is on track to open his first location in Heartland Plaza by the end of the year and is hopeful about future expansion with the brand.

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

Chen: I’ve lived in Toronto for over 30 years. Before I invested with Paris Baguette, I owned other businesses. In 2007, I opened a small Chinese takeout restaurant. In 2011, I sold all of those. That was a comfortable job, but I had to be there for everything. After that, I opened a sushi restaurant that I ran until 2014, but it was the same situation. Everyone relied on the chef. When someone left, it was hard to cover their work. 

I realized that it was hard for me to move forward if I wanted to open more restaurants or expand. I needed to do something much easier. In 2015, I opened a bubble tea shop. I’m still running that in Ontario, but I have a team now — a regional manager and a district manager. I decided to expand again, and I was looking at opening more bubble tea locations, a hot pot restaurant or a bakery. I had always thought about opening a bakery and had even visited Paris Baguette in New York. Every time I would go, it would be busy. I kept saying that I knew I wanted to do it, but it just wasn’t time yet.

Last year, I found out Paris Baguette would be expanding to Canada, so I decided to talk with the development person. Everything went smoothly, and that’s how I got into it. I like to make bakery stuff, so I’m excited to move forward with something a bit more challenging than bubble tea.

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?

Chen: I started with my own brand at the beginning, and it takes a lot of time. You can’t do everything alone. It’s difficult for one person. If you do it brand new, it can take a lot of time. I built my brand alone with the first two businesses. I know how hard it is. That’s why I’m now turning to franchising. When there’s a corporate team, they’re there to teach you or help whenever you need it. 

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

Chen: When I went to the U.S. quite often, I saw Paris Baguette more. When I went inside the store, I saw the service and control. It’s all very organized. I know there are other brands, but Paris Baguette can fit everybody. Canada is so multicultural, and I don’t want to put myself in a box. With a brand like Paris Baguette, I have more potential to open additional stores.

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

Chen: I haven’t opened the first location, so it can be hard to imagine what comes next. But Paris Baguette is in demand in Canada. Optimally, I’d like to open three to five stores within three years.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Chen: I would always see Paris Baguette when I would travel, and it was on my mind. But it wasn’t available in Canada for a long time. I have a friend who knows the company. When they started offering franchises in Canada, he immediately let me know. I was just waiting for my chance.

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

Chen: When I learned how to make bubble tea, sometimes I would think that I could do something another way — do it better. I did try, but at the end, I would tell people not to do that. Just follow what they suggest for you to do. The way they do it is a standard that is good for everybody. Just because I like the change I made doesn’t mean that other people will be comfortable with it. 

I realized that I joined the franchise and paid the ongoing royalties for the support. What’s the point in me thinking about these problems? That’s why the franchisor is there!


Paris Baguette is a bakery café franchise with more than 4,000 units across the globe. The brand first franchised in the U.S. in 2015 and has since established nearly 150 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.