Le Macaron French Pastries – Company Overview
- Founded: 2009
- Franchising Since: 2012
- Number of Existing Locations: 52
- Total Initial Investment: $84,350 to $361,500
- Initial Franchise Fee: $45,000
- Ongoing Royalty Fee: 6% of gross sales
- Ad Royalty Fee: 1% of gross sales
- Net Worth Minimum: $250,000
- Agreement Length: 10 years
Le Macaron was founded in 2009 by mother-daughter duo Rosalie and Audrey Guillem to bring a taste of France to America, and to fill a gap in the pastry segment as the first concept to focus on the macaron.
The first store opened in Sarasota, Florida, drawing in customers from as far as three hours away to get a taste of the airy but decadent, very Instagrammable French treat. Le Macaron began franchising in 2012, and now has more than 50 locations across 11 states. In addition to its signature macaron, stores sell gelato, eclairs, napoleons, pies, cakes, croissants and fine chocolates, made with the finest French ingredients, as well as coffee, tea and more.
As an industry leader with plenty of room to grow, Le Macaron plans to expand its national footprint through its commitment to authenticity and a willingness to adapt to evolving customer preferences.
What’s your backstory?
I was always a ‘sweets’ lady, but in the US, I was never able to find any macaron. They were impossible to find in Florida and in other states nearby. I spoke with my daughter and son-in-law, and we opened our first location in Sarasota in 2009. It was not great timing, because everyone was closing, but we chose to take our chances.
Customers were drawn by our beautiful, colorful displays but had no clue what a macaron was. The best way to explain it was to give them a sample. People loved it every time and would immediately place an order. From one sample, they were hooked.
After a few months, we saw that people were traveling 2 and 3 hours here just to buy macarons. We didn’t have any budget for marketing. We were growing organically. Then my son joined us, opened his own location, and the family business continued to grow from there.
In the decade since our founding, response has been incredible—Le Macaron has grown to more than 50 locations across 11 states in the form of both kiosks and café concepts.
Tell us about your menu and customer offerings.
We have the best macaron that you will ever find in American territory. We use only real ingredients; our chefs are from France, and they are really the best.
We have a variety of 20 different flavors in macarons, and we introduce new flavors often. We also rotate seasonally and for holidays. But Le Macaron has more than just macarons.
We have other pastries like eclairs, napoleons, pies, cakes and croissants. We have fine chocolates and drinks like soda, coffee and tea. We also do custom cakes, macaron towers and favor boxes for weddings, birthdays and corporate events using only the highest quality ingredients. Everything is really delicious. It’s simple and elegant. It feels like a vacation in France – that’s the feeling our customers get.
Our café concepts also offer French gelato, a product that used to be imported from France, but as of this year, is now also being made from scratch out of our Sarasota headquarters.
Other special treats and new flavors ahead this year include macaron ice cream sandwiches and a new red velvet-flavored macaron. Some of our franchisees have even curated their products to include specially made localized flavors.
Our customers are loyal and always come back. They come back because of the high quality of our product, and you cannot find this product elsewhere. We make a very special macaron – the best in the USA – because we use the most difficult process to make them.
We also do a lot of events both in and out of the store. We try to be involved with our community, and we have the capability to do catering and delivery – weddings, schools, universities, hotels, hospitals and offices.
What makes this opportunity unique?
We were the first macaron franchise in the country. We sell unmatched products, a simple business model with affordable investment opportunities and a quick return on investment; You can get three Le Macaron locations for the price of one ice cream shop or chocolate store.
We offer two different franchise concepts: cafes and mobile kiosks. Because of the decline in malls, rents at the successful ones are really high. Timing for opening a kiosk is less than for opening a cafe, and we can fit in all the malls.
People get in and out faster, it’s a less expensive investment and it’s smaller in size, meaning there isn’t enormous rent and overhead, but the profit is basically the same. You don’t need permits or architects; you keep everything. Plus, it’s effective in a short range. It can cover a lot of distance because it’s mobile.
Cafe or kiosk, franchisees do no cooking on site. Our macaron is special and we use a difficult recipe to make, so we ship from Sarasota to all of the locations with everything ready to be served. In fact, franchisees would be making less profit if they were baking on location.
One person can run the store by themselves; there’s no need to hire extensive staff. We average between $12 and $15 per ticket. It’s a fast sale and the customer turnover is quick, which is rare in the food industry. Plus, there’s very little waste.
We only require three days of training, and the franchisee is ready to go. The investment cost is low, and it’s very easy to break even. Anybody can be successful.
What does the future of the business look like?
Le Macaron is expanding nationally through franchising. We have plenty of room to grow. It’s the perfect combination of a commitment to authenticity and a willingness to adapt to evolving customer preferences from that position. We will continue to delight new patrons with a taste of France this year and beyond. We currently have 24 stores in development.
When we analyzed our growth, we saw that macarons made up to 80% of our sales, so we have honed in on the kiosk model that sells mainly macarons and pastries only. Our franchisees can get a kiosk up and running in just two months, and generate nearly the same profit as a café in a much shorter time frame. It’s a great option, especially for franchisees that have both types of stores, as they can cross-promote across both locations.
We have experienced a lot of great organic growth, and plan to grow concentrically in areas where we already have franchises. This will help us build on the great brand awareness we’ve built in those areas and deliver our delicious product to more macaron lovers across the United States. Across all 50 states, our offering elicits very limited competition.
What does a typical day look like for a franchisee?
Our French pâtisseries are a modern European design with no on-site baking, providing refined operations so minimal staffing is required. Our franchisees leverage streamlined locations which provides time to focus on excellence in customer service and opportunities for additional avenues of revenue.
Our French pâtisseries are a modern European design with no on-site baking, providing refined operations so minimal staffing is required.
Franchisees in our network are extremely hands-on. First and foremost, they are tasked with ensuring our brand is being upheld to the highest quality.
Multi-unit owners Stephanie Ebers and Reggie Thompson describe below what a typical work day is like.
“We are in contact with our teams – including managers, that’s a staff of about 25 – several times throughout the day in addition to regular site visits. Each of our stores provide a detailed inventory of all items every week that we review carefully and use for ordering and restocking. We also process all of our invoices and payments. We hold monthly staff meetings with all employees as well as quarterly staff meetings with our managers, and work with them each individually for ongoing training.”
From a marketing perspective, Stephanie and Reggie are active in social media and advertising to ensure their customers (and prospective customers) are aware of what’s going on in store for monthly promotions or LTOs. They also maintain the window displays at all five of their locations.
What we love most about Reggie and Stephanie is their passion for staying connected to the local communities by participating in local events and merchants associations meetings to make sure they’re doing our part in improving the quality of life for all of their neighbors.
What training programs are in place to help franchisees succeed?
Our Le Macaron support team provides owner-operators with multiple avenues for support in the earliest stages of the process, including help with site selection, design layout, store setup, pre-opening training, social media and more.
Le Macaron also offers best-in-class ongoing support for its macaron franchise owners. Each franchisee is assigned a franchise business consultant that provides direct one-on-one support through the opening process. Once the store is open, the franchise business consultant has regular calls and annual site visits with each franchisee.
The Le Macaron marketing team also supplies Le Macaron franchise owners with images, videos, creative assets, social media support and more. Additionally, we organize an annual meeting with all of our owners. Gregory Giullem, our lead Franchise Business Consultant, is my son and was our first franchisee. He provides really effective hands-on training from day one, step by step.
What are the characteristics of successful franchisees?
Le Macaron is looking for owner/operators and investors who have a strong belief in our products and business model. They are motivated, like-minded people with a desire to share in our delicious mission.
While no prior baking or restaurant experience is required, our franchisees should have basic business knowledge and the willingness to learn. They have a strong sense of community and lead with the attitude of a team player. In a franchise model, both the franchisor and fellow franchisees depend on you to protect and adhere to the systems and methods in place. Most importantly, any individual within our organization has a desire to engage guests with a passion for excellence in customer service.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Website: https://lemacaron-us.com/
- Franchising Opportunities: https://lemacaronfranchise.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lemacaronfranchise
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lemacaronfrenchpastries/