Mark Faithfull of The Robin Report tells his readers how an Iconic Parisian Café is planning to conquer the retail world. He writes:
Perhaps if you started business in 1885 and have a formidable literary and artist legacy going back nearly two centuries with the same family running the show — and have created an institution over all those years in an achingly desirable and historic corner in Paris — then taking things slowly comes naturally.
But now the restaurant and grande dame café, Les Deux Magots, has worldwide ambitions and has begun to spread its international wings. The plan is to grow slowly and support its Parisian chic flagship while rolling out a new café concept and retail store to make it a global brand. This new chapter of Les Deux Magots is the vision of the owner, great-granddaughter Catherine Mathivat, and her cousin, Brand General Manager Jacques Vergnaud.
Vergnaud’s plan knows few boundaries. Premium fast-food retail is in his sightline. He is developing a new concept store for takeaway food in mall locations, small-format outlets and in airports. This new concept has its first pilot due to open in Paris on April 15, ahead of the Paris Olympic Games.
Vergnaud joined the company in 2016 after a career in management consultancy and since his arrival, he has focused the family business on first re-establishing the Parisian institution’s roots and second on a careful international expansion, which kicked off in earnest this year. And there’s a lot more to come.
Les Deux Magots actually started all the way back in 1812 as a silk shop. The two Chinese porcelain figurines from which it takes its name appeared in 1884, by which time it had relocated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés and subsequently converted to a café and liqueur bar under the same name. […]
“It’s a very, very big adventure for us. It’s a new chapter in our history. Because in one year over 50 percent of our revenue will be abroad,” he reflects. “We do about €5 million per flagship, and what is important is not to go too fast, because we have to manage the different culture where we go.”
Honestly, this is the first time we have encountered a global expansion plan built on a Belle Epoque Parisian café. The risk is that such voracious ambitions will make Les Deux Magots ubiquitous, thereby losing its exclusivity and historic sentimental value. Les Deux Magots aprons, dish towels, cookbooks morphing to T-shirts, baseball caps and hoodies? We can’t wait to see how this story turns out!
Read more here.