A list of famous bakers, bakery chains and reknowned stores throughout the world, with further detail when neccessary (list in no particular order). All information is sourced from the corresponding Wikipedia pages.
Bakers Oven was a bakery company based in the UK. The company is a division of Greggs PLC which is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and is quoted on the London Stock Exchange. They specialise in pasties and bread items and most stores sell drinks. The stores are mainly located in England.
Bakers Oven was founded by Allied Bakeries and its first location was in Barnard Castle, this was one of the few locations to be called Bakers Oven. In 1994 it was taken over by Greggs and the number of Bakers Oven stores was significantly reduced, they were either sold or rebranded as Greggs. However recently the brand has been revitalised and existing shops are in the process of being rebranded to the Greggs brand of which total to 165 new Greggs in the UK.
Re-branding to Greggs
It was announced on 9 December 2008 that Bakers Oven South and Midlands divisions would fully merge with Greggs PLC therefore rebranding all 165 Bakers Oven shops to the Greggs PLC brand forming the division of Greggs East.
Coopland & Son (Scarborough) Ltd. is a family-run bakery chain which has stores across North, West and East Yorkshire, offering sandwiches, bread loaves, desserts and cakes. Despite having the same trading name and a similar product range as Cooplands (Doncaster) Ltd., the two companies operate individually from each other. Cooplands (Doncaster) has stores across South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and parts of Lincolnshire. The differences between the two companies can be seen in their logo designs and shop fronts - The Scarborough company has a cream background with circular brown text, whilst the Doncaster company now has a red and orange corporate logo on its stores.
Cooplands (Scarborough) has a notable share of the lunch-time market in large cities such as York and Hull. They compete directly with larger national and international chains/franchises such as Greggs and Subway.
The first Cooplands was founded in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough in 1885.
In 1999 Cooplands opened 10 new stores, thus expanding production at its Scarborough-based bakery by about 75% leading to the creation of 80 new jobs.
In June 2007 a further expansion was announced with the company purchasing the Hull-based Skeltons bakery firm that had gone into administration. The purchase increased the number of stores by 34 and also included two cafés and a bakery. As of April 2011, a further eighteen shops and some 280 staff were added to Cooplands' repertoire, following Woodhead, a rival Scarborough-based bakery chain, falling into administration, and a large portion of their shops being purchased by Cooplands.
Cooplands offers a wide variety of sandwiches, all of which are made on the premises daily or as ordered by a customer. They offer many varieties of fillings such as egg mayonnaise, cheese or a variety of meats. They also have a varied choice of breads & Pastries including many seasonal products (For example Turkey & Cranberry bakes at Christmas)
Fauchon is a French gourmet food company that was founded in 1886 by Auguste Fauchon. The company is based in Paris, France and operates retail outlets. Fauchon currently produces tea, chocolate, biscuits and sweets among other products.
Originally a street vendor, then a wine merchant, Auguste Fauchon created the company that bears his name in 1886. He developed the Fauchon store in Paris, France, on Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement. Given the high quality of his produce and packaged goods made by its suppliers, the Fauchon Company quickly became very famous internationally. “Fauchon imposes itself as the top luxury gourmet store in France; you may find there the most unusual and refined products”, said the well-known writer Jean-Michel Salvator. In 1898, Fauchon opened the first Salon de thé in Paris. Of all the gourmet foods the store sells, tea remains the most celebrated. In 1905, Auguste Fauchon began selling his wares by catalogue, making them available to epicures all over Europe. The company continued to innovate throughout the 20th century, creating the first flavored teas in the 1960s and the first flower-petal teas in the 1970s.
“For more than a century, Fauchon served the regal, the rich, and the famous. The Paris-based purveyor of luxury goods sold tea to royalty, pastry to politicians, and caviar to movie stars. When the Duke and Duchess of Windsor decamped in Paris, they made regular forays to Fauchon’s main Place de la Madeleine emporium. When French radicals in 1968 wanted to strike at a symbol of decadence, they stormed Fauchon and distributed foie gras to the poor,” writes Matt Miller in the Daily Deal.
The founder’s son, Robert Fauchon, and his son-in-law, both took over the business and the third generation after them sold the company in 1952 to Joseph Pilosoff, the former owner of the famous French chocolate company, Chocolat Poulain, of the silverware maker, “Aux Ciseaux d’Argent” in Saint Cloud, France, and of the well-known European shirt retailer, “Aux 100.000 Chemises” in Belgium. Joseph Pilosoff managed Fauchon quite well and started a partnership with the French airline company Air France. He also developed Fauchon internationally with the opening of Fauchon stores in several countries, most significantly in Japan in 1972 inside the Takashimaya department stores. After Joseph Pilosoff passed away in 1981, his daughter took the helm of Fauchon. She died in a fire that occurred in 1985 at the company’s flagship store. Her daughter, Martine, only 33 years old, found herself the owner of Fauchon with her husband, Philippe Prémat. Until then, she had been managing a gym club in Marseille, France. (See the interview of Martine Prémat in the newspaper Le Figaro) and her biography.)
The takeover by Martine Prémat turned out to be extremely difficult. “The environment is not too favorable, products are becoming banal, management errors abound, the Fauchon brand is losing its appeal and money” said the magazine Capital in May 1997 in a thorough review on Fauchon, its management, and its results. The rumor in Paris at the time was that Fauchon was nearly bankrupt. The writer from Capital, Eddy Murano, explained: “a look on the balance sheet is sufficient to be preoccupied: Sales are stagnant for the past ten years at about 250 million French Francs ($57 million); Losses every year, at the lowest point are about 5 million, in 1991 and 1993, and up to 11.9 million in 1996, debt is 73 millions French Francs ($17 million) and net worth is a negative 4.9 million” The main concern at the time was the major brand dilution that occurred when Fauchon started to be distributed in mass-market retailers like, for example Carrefour, Auchan, Champion, and Casino in Europe and started selling the same Fauchon products much cheaper in those store than at the Place de la Madeleine flagship Fauchon store. A supplier recalls: “You can find the same product elsewhere at a better price. I found out for myself with one of my own products sold 70% cheaper than at Fauchon at one of my other clients. The Fauchon brand has lost its value.”
The Prémats manage Fauchon mostly from its yacht and a branch they opened on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin. They built a large 100-foot (30 m) cruise ship called “Le Fauchon” The Prémats also attempted in the 1990s to continue the international development of their predecessors by opening Fauchon stores in Geneva and in Saudi Arabia. They ended up very quickly closing them a few years later. They also make Fauchon sponsor the car race Paris Dakar Rally. Losses run high, the company loses its cachet. As the writer Jean-Michel Salvator explained: “The family is fighting; the company no longer knows where it is going. But more importantly, Fauchon has become the victim of its own errors. Strategic error when the company started selling its products at mass-market retailers, at Carrefour and Auchan. Management error when it launched its cruise ship to promote French gastronomy. “The yacht ‘Le Fauchon’ was acquired for 30 million French Francs ($7 million) in 1994 to organize gastronomy cruises in the Mediterranean Sea to promote the brand. At 350,000 French Francs ($80,000) per week for a group of 10 people, the operation quickly turned in to a sinking disaster, for lack of customers. In 1995, the ship was sold at a loss of 12 millions French Francs ($3 million)” writes Eddy Murano in Capital.
In February 1998, the Gault Millau magazine, one of the most influential publication for restaurant rating in France, publishes an extensive review of Fauchon that is extremely critical. It says: “The French ambassador of French gastronomy has a cracked veneer. Is Fauchon still Fauchon? To judge, we tested many of its products. In the gastronomy department we were appalled by the poor taste of the boudin blanc, flourlike and tasteless, likewise by the boudin noir and tarama as bad, etc.”
Fauchon had lost its image of luxury and refinement; the company was in a precarious situation after ten years of losses when the young investment banker, Laurent Adamowicz, purchased it from Martine Prémat in 1998. Le Figaro newspaper summarizes: “When Laurent Adamowicz buys Fauchon in 1998, the company has an image of being bourgeois and too elitist.” “The Fauchon company is broken, its image is blurry”, ads the writer Jean-Michel Salvator on his daily show at the radio station Europe 1.
Laurent Adamowicz bought Fauchon for 240 million French francs ($55 million). This price includes the buildings on Place de la Madeleine that were sold the following year to the French developer OGIC, led by Jean Diaz.
The Era of Renewal
A former investment banker, Managing Director and Partner respectively of the French bank Paribas and of Rothschild & Cie, experienced in the field of luxury products as a former member of the Supervisory Board of Van Cleef & Arpels, graduate of “École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris” (ESCP-Europe) and of the Wharton School (See article in the business newspaper Les Echos on October 3, 2003), Laurent Adamowicz introduces marketing at Fauchon with the first advertising campaign on the theme of fashion in 1999. He organizes the full repositioning of the brand, its image, its graphic identity, its logos, and the entire range of packaging. He launches the creation of 700 new products under the Fauchon brand, introduced on the market from 1998 to 2003, in particular the new flavored teas of the Four Seasons, the “Pure Fruit” range of preserves, the foie gras made with Szechuan peppercorns, the caramel milk jam, the strawberry preserve with rose petals (See the article in the Spring 2003 issue of the Wharton Alumni Magazine) He completes the repositioning of the Fauchon brand in its food universe of good products made simply and exceptionally and he also removes the brand from the mass-market retail channel and renovates the historical stores on Place de la Madeleine. Finally he launches the Fauchon commercial website for packaged goods and catering. As soon as the year 2000, under his management, Fauchon becomes a growing and profitable company again. Fauchon opens new stores in Japan, in South Korea, Taiwan, the Middle East, Europe, and finally in the United States where it never had a store before.
Prior to his purchase of Fauchon, Laurent Adamowicz had already announced his intent and that of his investor group to launch the company in the U.S. market in a very significant way. A press conference they held in early February 1998 made it official that their strategy was to invest 60 million French Francs ($14 million) over 5 years to conquer the United States market they called “the largest opportunity for the development” of Fauchon. See Les Echos newspaper article on February 5, 1998 and the article in Le Monde, likewise: “The buyer of Fauchon, the company Waldo, wants to develop the brand in the United States”
“FAUCHON, the legendary Parisian market, has made its debut in New York. Its first American shop opened Monday at 442 Park Avenue, at 56th Street. For now, the glass display cases, shelves and free-standing consoles in the 3,600-square-foot (330 m2) store are stocked with pink and gold packages of fancy jams, chocolates, crackers, mustards, oils, vinegars, pickles, sauces and 109 kinds of tea,” writes Florence Fabricant in The New York Times on August 16, 2000. She continues: “The candy counter is laden with chocolates, marrons glaces in four flavors, pates de fruit and marzipan creations. The jewel-like glace strawberries ($2 each) are not to be missed. Chocolate Eiffel Towers are $5 each. The pastry department is limited to delicious macaroons for the moment, and there are packaged cookies, and gradually other pastries, ice creams and sorbets will be added. It has taken Fauchon, which has 800 stores in 33 countries, this long to open in the United States because the company's emphasis was placed on establishing franchises in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. When Laurent Adamowicz bought the 114-year-old company in 1998, he set his sights on the American market. The $3 million New York store is company owned.”
With a diversified investor group that included Michel Deroy and Jean-Francois Toulouse, former owners and managers of Dock de France supermarkets that they sold in 1996 for 18.5 billion French Francs ($4.2 billion); the investment fund Matignon Investissements et Gestion; the publicly listed UK fund Intermediate Capital Group; and Barclays Capital Development France, the company had the means of its ambitions to finance the desired expansion of Fauchon in the U.S. market. See article in Les Echos newspaper on April 2, 1998: “The new Chairman and CEO of Fauchon wants to bring the company to the United States” and in La Tribune newspaper on the same day: “The gourmet epicerie Fauchon wants to conquer the American market”
Barclays Private Equity France, a subsidiary of the Barclays plc Group, backed Laurent Adamowicz in his takeover of Fauchon to participate in its development in France and abroad. As can be read in the annual report of Barclays Private Equity France: “Laurent Adamowicz took the Fauchon destiny in his own hands and started the restructuring right away. His first actions included closing all the restaurants in the Place de la Madeleine, Paris store and replacing them with a “Salon de thé” (Fauchon Tea Salon) and the largest wine cellars in Paris. He also increased international brand presence with the opening of similar Fauchon Tea Salons in Asia and in New York on Park Avenue, followed by a second store on Madison Avenue.
After the pastry chef Pierre Hermé and his pupil, Sébastien Godard, both left the company, Laurent Adamowicz trusted a very young pastry chef promoted from within, in 2000, to lead the pastry department at Fauchon: Christophe Adam. Still in charge today, Christophe Adam led up to 70 Fauchon pastry chefs after the takeover of the Paris stores purchased by Fauchon from Groupe Flo.
The brand renewal is particularly noticed with the reopening of the historic Tea Salon in Paris, followed by its replicas in Tokyo and New York. Of the more than 100 varieties, there is Soir de France, a blend of China and Sri Lanka teas flavored with apricot and blood orange and sprinkled with orange peel and petals of rose and sunflower. The two references created then upon the launch of the tea salon, Soir de France and Un Après-Midi à Paris (An Afternoon in Paris) have both become Fauchon classics, among the best selling references today. During the year 2000, Fauchon also launches a noticeable innovation for tea-buffs around the world, the crystal tea bag, a ultra-fine nylon pouch that provides a better quality infusion, hence a better aroma for tea. Holly Finn, the Financial Times writer, signs an article on the new Fauchon Tea Salon under the title “Tea with Sympathy”. She writes: “For those weary of coffee and couture and in real need of something soothing, the Salon de Thé recently opened at the legendary Fauchon food emporium in Paris, is worth a winter visit. There, on Place de la Madeleine, the emphasis is not on fast-forwarding, either one’s heart rate or one’s fashion status. It’s about stopping – taking a deep breath and a long sip. No matter how rudely random Parisians have treated you that morning, you’ll soon feel better about the whole Franco-thing. A slice of Tarte au thé Darjeeling (a specialty of the house) restores confidence not just in your ability to translate, but in the civility of left-seat drivers, all sorts of things…. A reminder of the bond between tea and sympathy.”
Fauchon in Figures
From 1998 to 2003, the number of franchised Fauchon stores goes from 450 to 650, the number of company-owned stores from 1 to 16 of which 3 in New York and 13 in Paris after the purchase by Fauchon of the Parisian stores of Groupe Flo The number of licenses grows from 2 to 16 from 1998 to 2003, generating royalties that grow from 1.5 to 3 million Euros ($4.5 million) during the same period. In 2003, Fauchon has total sales of 90 million ($135 million) of which 30% export revenues for a profit of 5 million Euros ($7.5 million). (See the Article “Fauchon en Chiffres” – Fauchon in Figures – in the business newspaper La Tribune)
In its annual report for 2001, Compagnie du Bois Sauvage, one of the Fauchon shareholders, shows in its Waldo S.A. Consolidated Audited Accounts, that Cash Flow from operations went from negative 2.3 million Euros ($3.4 million) in 1999 to a positive 1.4 million Euros ($2.2 million) in 2001. “Waldo S.A.: a French company controlling the famous House of Fauchon in Paris. The development of the Company is being pursued mainly in the United States”, says Compagnie du Bois Sauvage.
Back to the great time of Fauchon in the 1950s under the management of Joseph Pilosoff, Laurent Adamowicz restores in 2001 a close partnership with the airline company Air France: the Fauchon products are being offered to First Class passengers and on all the Air France flights in Concorde; an advertising movie is shown aboard all international flights at Air France. Fauchon creates the small pink handbag sold as a chocolate box/handbag that becomes the Fauchon brand signature for the next decade. This development moves along the opening of new Fauchon corner-stores in numerous airports around the world including at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. Between 1998 and 2003, the Fauchon Company grows from 360 to 900 employees of which 200 chefs de cuisine and pastry chefs combined.
“Fauchon finds the taste of profit”, says the Management magazine in 2003. “Laurent Adamowicz has succeeded. In 5 years, this ex-golden boy (Paribas and Rothschild) who does not hesitate to play salesman in his stores, was able to transform Fauchon. The venerable epicerie of luxury products he purchased in 1998 – that was nearly bankrupt – finally became a profitable company with 90 million Euros ($135 million) in sales and 5 million ($7.5 million) in EBIT for 2002. His last venture paid off too. The 12 Flo Prestige stores he bought from the restaurant group for 40 million Euros ($60 million) allowed to drive younger clients to the Fauchon brand while keeping the old-time regulars.
The 2003 Crisis
Comes the crisis of Spring-Summer 2003: First there was the war in Iraq with the invasion and the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in April 2003; followed in May 2003 with a worldwide scare due to the epidemic of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus; then came the frightening heat wave in Europe that hit France particularly hard with over 15,000 dead in August 2003; finally, the economic turbulences due to the collapse of the tourism market that year. Fauchon was very dramatically affected by the combination of all these events, especially at the time it had just converted to the Fauchon brand all the new Parisian stores it had just acquired.
In January 2004, Laurent Adamowicz gave away control of Fauchon to Compagnie du Bois Sauvage, the Belgian company listed on the Euronext market in Brussels, also the owner of the Chocolatier Neuhaus and chocolatier Marcolini, as well as a vast portfolio of real estate and financial holdings, including a large shareholding in Fortis Bank. Compagnie du Bois Sauvage takes over Fauchon along with the investment fund Matignon Investissement & Gestion, based in Paris, also a shareholder of CBS Finance (a banking subsidiary of Compagnie du Bois Sauvage); and with Michel Ducros, a businessman based in Monaco and residing in Yens in Switzerland who participates as a shareholder in Fauchon through several Luxembourg based companies, mostly through his 100% owned company, Levira Holdings S.A., that is being liquidated in 2009. Michel Ducros becomes chairman and CEO of Fauchon in January 2004 and invites to participate in the capital of Fauchon on the one hand, the company Universal Capital Partners, owned and managed by Pierre Besnainou, founder of the web access company Liberty Surf and President of the European Jewish Congress in 2005 and on the other hand the Swiss group Gonset Holding S.A.
In March 2004, Pierre Besnainou invites himself at Fauchon, says the French newspaper Le Figaro. He will hold 10% of Fauchon. His arrival at Fauchon follows the departure of Laurent Adamowicz due to difficulties with his partners. He ended up giving up his 51% control ownership and abandoned his Chairmanship seat to Michel Ducros.
The Ducros Era
Michel Ducros, born in Kehl in Germany in 1949, is none other than one of the sons of Gilbert Ducros (1928–2007), the founder of the Ducros spice business that he sold in 1992 to the Italian group Ferruzzi, for 1.6 billion French Francs ($360 million) following family infighting and financial difficulties. (See article in the magazine Le Point on January 17, 2007 and of L’Express magazine on August 9, 2007) “I ended up a luxurious jobless at 43” (“Je me suis retrouvé chômeur de luxe à 43 ans”), says Michel Ducros. “With a huge mid-life crisis”, he ads.
After many years of debacle, the Ferruzzi group went bankrupt and the Ducros spice business is now owned by McCormick & Company since 2002.
As for Michel Ducros, at Fauchon, he follows into the steps of his predecessor in terms of the brand image, its renewal started in 1998 with the introduction of the first advertising campaigns in 1999, the renovation of the stores, the new packaging, and the marketing efforts. However on the financial front Ducros took a radical departure. Fauchon has been losing millions under his management. Also, Michel Ducros incarnates the return of the Jet set era at Fauchon, in a radical twist against current recessionary trends; champagne abounds again at Fauchon like it did during the era of the Prémats in the 80’s, today at Monaco Marine S.A., the Luxembourg-based boat repair and maintenance company owned by Michel Ducros, as related by the writer Nathania Cahen, in her article in the magazine L’Express on Michel Ducros and his “three big nights, successively reserved for the clients, partners, and personnel of Monaco Marine, all with Fauchon champagne flowing; Fauchon is the other business owned by the old king of spices, who decidedly navigates easily on the markets of luxury.”
Another press title sums up the situation at the company: “Michel Ducros : Des épices, des yachts et Fauchon” (Michel Ducros: Spices, yachts, and Fauchon) “Personally, I only have a tiny fraction of the capital of the company. I have no intent of becoming the majority owner of Fauchon”, says Michel Ducros to the magazine Le Figaro Entreprises. “I only got appointed at the helm because I am the only industrial partner in the roundtable and the only one with spice experience. I am only a conductor.”
In figures, the Ducros era can be summarized at Fauchon as 56 millions Euros ($ 84 million) of cumulative losses in 5 years from 2004 to 2009, under the management of Michel Ducros, based on the annual reports published by the main listed shareholder, Compagnie du Bois Sauvage. Although when he took the job, Michel Ducros was quite confident in his ability to manage the Fauchon business. “After an 11 million Euros loss, Fauchon is going to break even this year” said Michel Ducros in an interview to the newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday April 21, 2004. It went on: “Three months after taking full command of Fauchon, Michel Ducros commits to balancing the books this year.” “Losses are not as preoccupying as they appear”, he said But then, after nearly six years, Michel Ducros keeps announcing the return to profitability, to no avail. To the point the situation between him and the other shareholders has considerably deteriorated and he bought back almost all of them.
The Ducros strategy has been drastic: closing all the newly opened stores in Russia; then closing two of the three stores in New York as announced in The New York Times article on June 11, 2004: “Fauchon, the Paris-based luxury-food company, will close two of its three Manhattan stores today. The company will maintain its store at 442 Park Avenue, at 56th Street, but is closing the store at 1000 Madison Avenue, at 77th Street, the former site of the Sant Ambroeus coffee shop and restaurant, and the one at 1383 Third Avenue, at 78th Street. He then proceeded to sell the Fauchon catering business to the French company Fleury Michon in 2004; and then, in a surprising strategic move, Ducros sold all the Fauchon stores in Paris to his competitor Lenôtre the gastronomy stores founded by the world-famous pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre and now a subsidiary of the Accor hotel conglomerate. As a result, Lenôtre becomes the number one catering chain in Paris, a market that had been dominated by Fauchon until then. The article in Le Figaro sums up the situation: “Fauchon a perdu la bataille de Paris” (Fauchon has lost the battle of Paris). Michel Ducros admits: “We have been unable to manage all those stores and employees at the same time. We were unable to make them profitable.” “I am not a manager but only an investor-entrepreneur” explains Ducros in the magazine L’Express in another interview Corinne Scemama wrote in L’Express magazine recently: “After dumping his other departments and its Paris stores (sold to Lenôtre in 2005), after reducing the number of its employees (from 700 to 200), the new management of Fauchon has been shaking its image to place it into a glamour universe, reserved to the wealthy, the fashion victims, and French Boho chic.”
In 2005, Elaine Sciolino, the American journalist who was the Paris bureau chief of The New York Times from 2002 to 2008, writes a detailed article on Fauchon at the time of the retreat: “Fauchon’s Food Empire Cedes Territory to a Rival” “Of all the luxury food emporiums of Paris, none is better known than Fauchon. Founded in 1886 at the Place de la Madeleine by a pushcart grocer named Auguste Félix Fauchon, the company has built its reputation on signature products like its champagne mustard, marrons glacés and strawberry and rose water preserves. Tiny pink Fauchon purses serve as boxes for two Fauchon chocolates. About 120 teas, 50 vinegars, 131 jams, 30 forms of foie gras and 50 honeys are offered by Fauchon. But hélas, Fauchon is in trouble. Michel Ducros, its president and chief, announced earlier this week that he was selling 9 of Fauchon's 12 satellite shops in Paris to the rival gourmet food chain Lenôtre. The sale price is being kept confidential. A 10th store is being sold to another buyer; the two other stores in Paris were sold last year. "You won the battle of Paris," Mr. Ducros told Patrick Scicard, the president of Lenôtre, at a news conference in the tearoom of Fauchon's flagship Place de la Madeleine shop. "And we will reorganize ourselves as a result." The article goes on: “On a trip to Paris, just a few weeks ago, I noticed Fauchon was empty, while the department stores were booming.”
“Fauchon is not going out of business, despite some reports last year that it was skirting bankruptcy. It will keep its restaurant, renovate its flagship store and focus more energy on developing its overseas markets, including its 10 stores outside France (among them its Park Avenue store in Midtown Manhattan)”, writes Elaine Sciolino.
Yet, little did she know, in a continued retrenching strategy, Ducros went on to close the remaining store that Fauchon had opened in fanfare in 2000 in New York, while cashing out $4 million on its Park Avenue lease. (See article in the New York Times: “Demolition Plans Pit Developer Against Chocolatier”).
In total, the Ducros management eliminated over 700 jobs at Fauchon. It went from 900 employees in 2004 to 200 employees in 2009.
In spite of the 5 years of recurrent losses under his management ($84 million cumulative losses) and in large part due to the wealth bought about by the sale of his father’s spice business sold for 240 millions Euros ($360 million) in 1992, Michel Ducros buys out most of the other shareholders, private and institutional. This includes his buy out of Barclays Private Equity France in 2005. Then more recently, he smartly takes advantage of the extremely difficult situation that Compagnie du Bois Sauvage finds itself embroiled into, to buy them out as well. Compagnie du Bois Sauvage and its CEO, Vincent Doumier are being investigated for insider trading on the sale of their respective shares of Fortis Bank. “Brussels holding company Bois Sauvage threw 3.6 million Fortis shares onto the market on October 3, 2008, just before the bank's second bail-out. During the following weekend, the Belgian government concluded a deal with BNP Paribas on the sale of Fortis. Judicial authorities in the capital say that they now have indications that the holding company ditched its Fortis shares on that day with prior knowledge.” See the online article in the Wall Street Journal as well.
Not only did he purchase the entire 36% Fauchon stake of Compagnie du Bois Sauvage, but Michel Ducros also bought out the shares held by Matignon Investissement & Gestion investment fund. As of now, he holds over 90% of the share capital of Fauchon. “I invest on the long term as an entrepreneur”, says Michel Ducros. “To prove it, this year, Michel Ducros just purchased shares from minority investors tired of financing the deficits”, says the magazine Le Point. “An act of faith” says the boss; “I am very confident” answers Pierre Besnaïnou, the former founder of Liberty Surf and still a minority shareholder of Fauchon.
Morocco, Switzerland, and China are the new territories targeted by Fauchon. Michel Ducros just announced the soon-to-be-opened Fauchon store in Casablanca; and the opening of a Fauchon store in Geneva where Fauchon had already opened a store under the Prémat management that had been closed a few years after it opened, due to mounting losses. China is also targeted as a very promising development with the announcement, in October 2007, of 13 stores to be opened by the Chinese company, Beijing Hualian Group, a leading chain of supermarkets, on the model of the large store it opened in a mall in Beijing near the Olympic Stadium. Two years later, two of the three floors of the Beijing store have already been closed, explains Les Echos in a severe article of October 29, 2009. “Fauchon must reassess its plans after its failures to balance its books due to its local losses”. Adds Isabelle Capron , Chief Operating Officer of Fauchon: “China may be the future Japan, but not for right now”
To help in the development of the new Fauchon projects, Michel Ducros created a new company, Fauchon Trading S.A., an anonymous company (“société anonyme”), based in Luxembourg like most of the other companies of his group, generally Luxembourg-based (like Jazz S. à. r. l., Stratinvest S.A., Drum S.A., Eucelia Investments S.A., Gedena Société Anonyme, Luxembourgeoise de Financement S.A., Physiocée International S.A., GENSAT S.A., J.H.F. Holding S.A. AB INTERNATIONAL S.A., CAPOFFICE Société Anonyme, AGRINVEST EUROPE S.A., a company in which Compagnie du Bois Sauvage is a shareholder as well) or sometimes based in other tax heavens, like for instance the British Virgin Islands. Michel Ducros is also the majority shareholder of a French lighting fixture retailer, Laurie Lumière, and of two Campanile hotels in Brussels and Luxembourg.
Adding to the financial difficulties of the current crisis that hit luxury retailers very hard, and Fauchon in particular, a crisis of confidence appeared as well: The main supplier of Fauchon, the tea importing company, Dammann Frères, decided to develop its own brand of tea and now to open its own stores under the Dammann brand name. As written up in details by the French magazine Marie Claire, Dammann Frères, “the most prestigious brand of French tea in a historical site”, launched its first Dammann tea store close to Fauchon’s competitor Mariage Frères, on Place des Vosges, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. While presenting a product that is strictly identical to that of Fauchon, Dammann sells it tea at half the price as Fauchon on Place de la Madeleine. “Damman Frères is a family business that for three generations makes exceptional tea. Today, this house of tea offers itself to the public by opening on Place des Vosges its first store in a historic backdrop, the old house of the Académie des Beaux-Arts that became a museum, then a historic landmark library”, says Marie Claire Maison.
As a return to the errors of the years 1980-1990 described by the writer Jean-Michel Salvator, Michel Ducros in 2009, reintroduces the Fauchon brand at mass-market retailers like Carrefour, 15 years after the fiasco orchestrated by the Prémats. Le Figaro newspaper explains: “A section reserved to the Fauchon products will be set up in the Carrefour store at Porte d'Auteuil, in Paris.”
At the end of the 1990s Fauchon had embraced distribution at mass-market retailers and had multiplied its selling outlets. “The increase in volumes diluted the brand’s value”, recognizes Michel Ducros in the recent article in L’Express magazine.
The Fauchon brand dilution follows the drastic strategy organized by Michel Ducros in every segment of retailing and distribution. A strategy that cost him personally some 25 million Euros ($38 million) Lately, to redeploy the Fauchon of the 21st century all over the planet, Michel Ducros puts the final touch on his secret new pet project code-named “F 50”. “There could be 100 of these new stores in airports, 100 in China, 20 in Korea, 50 in France…. It may sound like euphoria to say that but I believe in it” says Ducros
One must admit that after he has repainted the town in pink and bought out all the other shareholders, Ducros seems to be wearing pink glasses. “Few people internally will argue against his new bet: Michel Ducros is now the owner of over 90% of the business. But La Vie en Rose (Life in Pink), will have to be measured by the number of happy customers leaning on the windows.” So concludes the writer Domitille Arrivet in her full length article on Fauchon in Le Point magazine on October 8, 2009.
Main competitors of Fauchon on the worldwide gourmet and luxury food products scene include Harrods and Fortnum & Mason in London and Mariage Frères, Le Palais des Thés, Dammann Frères, Kusmi Tea, Lenôtre, and Hédiard in Paris. Additionally, one cannot ignore the arrival of a new contender in the exclusive club of high fashion / luxury tea merchants, the Singapore based company TWG that belongs to The Wellness Group. (See the article in Forbes on December 14, 2009). TWG’s success in gaining customers from Fauchon and other leading luxury tea brands can be attributed in large part to its recruiting of Taha Bouqdib.
References in popular culture
In Thomas Harris's book Hannibal (1999), the infamous fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter, while on a flight from Europe to America, waits until everyone is asleep before producing a Fauchon food parcel of aromatic truffled pate de foie gras and Anatolian figs, as well as a half bottle of St Estephe which Harris says he favours.
In Cast Away, the 2000 movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, Chuck Noland, the FedEx executive (starring Tom Hanks) hands his colleagues before they board the plane, a Fauchon bag containing fresh baguette bread from Paris. The distinctive Fauchon logo of the bag stands out. Later in the movie, one wishes he had kept the bag.
Greggs plc is the largest specialist retail bakery chain in the United Kingdom. It was established in the 1930s as a single shop but as of May 2011 has approximately 1,500 outlets. It is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and is listed on the London Stock Exchange where it is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
Greggs was founded by John Gregg as a Tyneside bakery in 1939. It opened its first shop in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951.
Major expansion began soon after it was taken over by his son, Ian, on John's death in 1964: this included the acquisitions of other bakeries such as Glasgow based Rutherglen in 1972, Leeds based Thurstons in 1974, Broomfields the Bakers, London, Bowketts the Bakers Kent, Tooks the Bakers (East Anglia) and Manchester based Price's in 1976.
In 1999, Greggs rebranded its 100 Braggs bakers shops as Greggs of the Midlands and its Leeds-based Thurston chain as Greggs of Yorkshire.
Starting in 2003, in an attempt to test the foreign market, Greggs opened a total of ten stores in Belgium; principally in Antwerp and Leuven. These have all since closed as Greggs concentrates on the UK market.
On 9 December 2008, Greggs announced that all of its 165 Bakers Oven branded shops would be re-branded into the Greggs brand so that all the shops could benefit from the Greggs national advertising campaign.
The company has grown steadily over the years and now has over 1,500 outlets, with many town and city centres having several stores. In 2009, Greggs announced plans for another 600 stores, and has become bigger than fast food chain McDonalds, within the UK. It has a divisional structure with central bakeries around the country supplying the shops in their surrounding areas.
As well as selling British freshly baked savouries such as sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, local items are also available. Traditional Tyneside and, more generally, North East foods are usually available, for example pease pudding and Stotties. The available products are frequently updated and change according to the time of year. For example at Hallowe'en various themed products are available.
In October 2007, Greggs pioneered a late night store in the entertainment quarter of Birmingham. This branch is the first of its kind putting it in direct competition with more traditional late-night eateries. A store in Sheffield (Division Street) and Leeds (Albion Street) both open late from Wednesdays to Saturdays, with two stores in Glasgow (Gordon Street, Sauchiehall Street) open late Friday-Saturday.
Actress and model Milla Jovovich, a fan of the store and its pasties, said in 2002 that she would be willing to become the "face of Greggs" in a new marketing campaign if the firm approached her, though no such approach was made. Jovovich's spouse Paul W S Anderson shares his Gosforth roots with Greggs and introduced Jovovich to the brand. The latest advertising slogan for Greggs is "The Home of Fresh Baking", and recently the face of Greggs has been British Comedian Patrick McGuinness.
Greggs core product and market is based around traditional comfort foods, for example selling two million chicken bakes per week, and selling millions of sausage rolls. A nutritional guide can be found on their website.
Ladurée is a luxury cakes and pastries brand based in Paris, France. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day. They are still one of the best known makers of macarons in the world.
Louis-Ernest Ladurée, a miller, was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day. He founded the bakery on the Rue Royale, Paris in 1862. During the Paris Commune uprising of 1871 the bakery was burnt down. A pastry shop was built at the same location and Jules Chéret was entrusted with the interior decoration. The chubby cherubs dressed as pastry cooks, painted by him on the ceiling, form the company's emblem. The interior of the premises were painted in the same celadon colour as the façade. Ladurée's rise to fame came in 1930 when his grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, had the original idea of the double-decker, sticking two macaron shells together with a creamy ganache as filling. Queen Catherine de' Medici had brought the macaron to France from Italy in the 16th century, and the recipe for the biscuit had hardly varied over the years, but the amounts of the ingredients used and the appearance of the end product were up to the individual bakers.
Desfontaines also opened a tearoom at the pastry shop. In those days ladies were not admitted to cafés, which were the exclusive domain of men. This was a big success with ladies, who enjoyed meeting in the freedom of the tearoom rather than their homes.
In 1993 the Groupe Holder took over the firm Ladurée. The Holder family also owns the PAUL bakery chain in France. Following the takeover, the company began an expansion drive, setting up pastry shops and tea rooms on the Champs-Élysées and in Le Printemps Haussmann in 1997, followed by Ladurée Bonaparte in 2002. The International development of Ladurée started in 2005 with London. Ladurée stores are now also present in Monaco, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Lebanon, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, Kuwait, and Ireland.
Ladurée made the pastries for the film Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola; its famous macarons can be seen in a scene between Marie Antoinette and Ambassador Mercy. They can also be seen in The CW's hit teen drama Gossip Girl as Blair Waldorf's favorite pastries.
Pierre Hermé (born November 20, 1961, Colmar Haut-Rhin) is a French pastry chef most famous for his macarons, often with unusual flavor combinations. French Vogue magazine dubbed him "The Picasso of Pastry."
Pierre Hermé macarons are airy cookies of egg-white and almond flour, sandwiching a cream filling. Perhaps his most famous is the Ispahan, made with rose, lychee, and raspberry; he likened it as their "Chanel suit" -- the one they sell the most.
Hermé's chocolates are also renowned. His chocolate cake made it on The Observer's "50 best things to eat in the world" list. To quote: "When Pierre Hermé first let me try his heart-shaped Chuao cake, made with blackcurrants and a chuao couverture from Pralus, I totally forgot where I was. It was a firework of aromas, temperatures and textures. The freshness of the fruit flirted with the roundness of the chocolate. Hermé is a genius – one of my chocolate gods. The cake is seasonal and available on demand, and now made with Valrhona, but it is still my favourite in the world."
His cooking philosophy: He prefers discreet pastry decors and "uses sugar like salt, in other words, as a seasoning to heighten other shades of flavor." He often makes daring use of savory ingredients in his desserts: traces of balsamic vinegar, Parmesan or olives in his cakes and layered dessert creams; he has even used grilled corn in a cake. Like some fashion designers, he creates themed seasonal collections. For example, his 1999 Autumn/Winter Collection was entitled “Café, Chocolate, Caramel”; in 2002, “Blanc Cousu Main”; in 2003, "Kawaï".
Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making tradition, Pierre Hermé began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice in Paris with the acclaimed pâtissier Gaston Lenôtre, who Hermé says is his greatest influence. At age 24, he became the pastry chef at the fine food merchant Fauchon, where he remained for 11 years. In 1997, he was involved for with the expansion of Ladurée into a chain of luxury pastry shops. Ladurée also is renowned for their macarons.
In 1998, he started his own brand name Pierre Hermé Paris with a pastry boutique in Tokyo's New Otani Hotel, followed in July 2000 by a Salon de Thé in the Tokyo Disney shopping area Ikspiari. According to Hermé, while with Ladurée his contract prohibited him from opening a place in Paris. His first Paris boutique opened in 2002, at 72 rue Bonaparte in the Saint Germain des Prés, then in 2004 a second one at 185 rue de Vaugirard. In 2005, a flagship store opened in Tokyo's trendy Omotesando district, with a downstairs boutique for Pierre Hermé products as well as an elegant upstairs 20-seat cafe, "Chocolate Bar". There are now seven stores in Tokyo, six in Paris, one in London, and an online shop.
He lives in Paris's 17th arrondissement, where his office and creative workshop are close by, just next to Monceau Park. When not in his own shops, he likes to travel around Paris visiting suppliers of his favorite Parisian foodstuffs, and finding new shops that sell products with flavors new to him.
Pierre Hermé was the youngest person ever to be named France's Pastry Chef of the Year, and is also the only pastry chef to have been decorated as a Chevalier of Arts and Letters. He was awarded "Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur" by Jacques Chirac on May 3, 2007, just before Nicolas Sarkozy's election.
He has written two English-language dessert cookbooks, together with food writer Dorie Greenspan: Desserts by Pierre Hermé and Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.
- Secrets Gourmands - Larousse, 1993
- La Pâtisserie de Pierre Hermé - Montagud Editores, Spain, 1994
- Co-author, Larousse Gastronomique, 1996
- Le Larousse des Desserts - Larousse, 1997
- Plaisirs Sucrés - Hachette, 1997
- Desserts by Pierre Hermé - Little & Brown, United States, 1998
- Secrets Gourmands - Shibata Shoten, Japan, 1999
- Desserts à la carte - Hachette, 2000
- Secrets Gourmands - Noésis, 2000
- La Pasticceria di Pierre Hermé - Edizioni Finedit, Italy, 2001
- Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé - Little & Brown, United States, 2001
- Le Larousse des Desserts - Larousse, 2002
- Plaisirs Sucrés (new edition) - Hachette, 2002
- Mes Desserts au Chocolat - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2002
- Mes Desserts Préférés - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2003
- Die Pâtisserie von Pierre Hermé - Mathaes, Germany, 2004
- Le Larousse du Chocolat - Larousse, 2005
- The Cook’s Book - Dorling Kindersley, United Kingdom, 2005
- ph10 - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2005
- Gourmandises - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2006
- Comme un chef - Larousse, 2006
- Le Larousse des desserts - Larousse, 2006
- Confidences Sucrées - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2007
- Macaron - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2008
- Carrément Chocolat - Agnès Viénot Éditions, 2009
* Hermé sounds truly amazing...one day I strive to be a Picasso of pastry...must try out some of his products next time I'm in London/Paris! Yum yum.