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Published: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 9:11:47 AM

En garde, the baguette duel is on

South Korean franchise opens bakery in Paris.

It sounds half-baked, but a South Korean bakery chain has pulled off a gutsy, audacious move and opened a flagship store in central Paris, called Paris Baguette Chatelet.

From the outside, the bakery – located in the heart of the city near Chatelet – betrays no sign of being anything other than French, with its contemporary chocolate brown awning, flaky croissants and flutes of baguettes lining store shelves.

But Paris Baguette is a major bakery chain and offshoot of one of Korea’s largest food conglomerates, the SPC Group that claims to offer a “Taste of France” – even though it’s 100% Korean.

Born in 1988, the chain has about 3,190 outlets in Korea and began launching an aggressive expansion campaign in 2004 when it entered China for the first time where it now has 125 stores.

The year after, Paris Baguette entered the US market, opening 37 bakeries in cities like Los Angeles and New York.

The franchise also has a presence in Vietnam and Singapore and is likewise eyeing the Middle East, Canada, South America and the rest of Europe for expansion.

According to Yonhapnews.co.kr, the Parisian store spans 200sqm and includes seating for 46 guests – a feature that could help set the concept apart from traditional French bakeries which often don’t offer dine-in options.

Yonhap also reports that the bakery franchise plans to staff the store, located on the corner of rue des Lavandieres Sainte-Opportune, with French bakers and tweak the menu to cater to local tastes.

The US menu includes unapologetically distinctive Asian flavours with pastries like red bean sweet doughnut, curry croquette, green tea sponge cake and sweet potato soft cake.

Paris Baguette’s entry in Paris – the first in Europe – is part of the chain’s ambitious plans to become the largest bakery franchise in the world, with 3,000 stores in 60 countries by 2020.

Meanwhile, a buttery duel is about to go down in Korea as well, as French bakery chain Brioche Doree likewise announced plans to open their first outpost in the country by the end of the year. – AFP Relaxnews


Tags / Keywords: Paris Baguette Chatelet, South Korean bakery

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