About Rosalie Guillem: After spending years perfecting traditional French recipes with her daughter Audrey, Rosalie Guillem decided to share her delectable macarons with the American consumer market in 2009 – opening the first Le Macaron French Pastries boutique in Sarasota, Florida.
Since then, Rosalie’s business has expanded to nearly 40 locations through a franchise expansion program started in 2012. Her signature pastries are featured at all locations – each one is still handcrafted.
FranchiseExpo: What is Le Macaron French Pastries franchise opportunity all about?
Rosalie Guillem: Launched in 2009, Sarasota, Florida-based Le Macaron French Pastries creates an elegant cafe ambiance with all the charms of a traditional p?tisserie. Customers enjoy a sophisticated product selection, featuring handcrafted French macarons made from the finest ingredients.
Franchise owners convert 800 to 1,000 square feet of commercial space into modern, attractive boutiques with the help of a streamlined business model and first-rate expertise in retail management. Since initiating our growth plans franchise effort in 2012, we’ve grown to 37 locations — with 15 additional locations under development.
FE: Who is your ideal candidate for a Le Macaron French Pastries franchise?
RG: Management and/or food and retail experience is a plus for our owner-operators. However, it is not required. We keep our business model simple and pride ourselves on customer service. The majority of our franchisees have never operated a store before and come from a variety of backgrounds with varying ages. We’ve designed a model that is genuinely inclusive as it allows for diversity among investors and easy operation.
FE: What type of training and support do you offer Le Macaron French Pastries franchisees?
RG: We provide hands-on support during every step of the process to help ensure your business runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible. We offer assistance with the start-up phase, including site selection, décor and furnishings, inventory and equipment. Beyond that, our franchisees receive comprehensive training—at our corporate office and on-site for franchise owners and their key staff.
In-store visits, refresher training, program updates, and easy remote access to our support team are other avenues for support that franchisees value. When launching a new business, the most exhausting part is often developing the marketing. We help to ease that burden for franchisees – providing sample branded materials and a presence on our corporate website, as well as guidance on local promotional efforts.
FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Le Macaron French Pastries franchisee?
RG: Le Macaron French Pastries allows franchisees to experience entrepreneurship through a time-tested model. Not to mention, the quality of our macarons and pastries speak for themselves. With a combined supportive system and a stellar product, you have an opportunity that makes a great deal of sense to aspiring entrepreneurs.
That’s what our franchisees enjoy most. They can go into business for themselves – but certainly not by themselves – while introducing their communities to flavors that can’t be found elsewhere in the U.S.
FE: Are you a member of any Associations?
RG: Le Macaron French Pastries is a member of the IFA.
FE: Tell us a little about the pastry market?
RG: Over the past year, national retail outlets have seen a 40 percent growth in sales of macarons. There has also been a steady increase in the demand for gluten free products. Our low-calorie, gluten-free macarons not only satisfy that craving, they help us position ourselves strategically within the $36 billion U.S. bakery product industry. Consumers’ tastes and preferences are constantly changing. They’re demanding more from their food when it comes to flavors and quality. We’re primed to thrive in this market because we’re keen to that trend and our products reflect it.
FE: How successful is your company today and what are your future growth plans?
RG: Currently, there are nearly 40 Le Macaron franchise locations across the U.S. We would love to double that number over the next 12 months. We are already off to a good start with 15 locations currently under development. We’re also excited about the nationwide expansion program we recently launched and its potential to motivate American entrepreneurs looking to join our team. We’re looking forward to connecting with even more entrepreneurs this year who want to join us in introducing this degree of culinary artistry to the U.S.
FE: What are your franchisees saying about the business?
RG: Le Macaron French Pastries franchisees find our business model easy to follow. Since all of the baking is done in the corporate location’s kitchen and then delivered to each store, franchisees don’t have to worry about preparation of the products, which allows them more time to focus on customer service. We have franchisees of all different ages with various backgrounds and varying experience – all of whom are operating their own Le Macaron French Pastry locations.
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
RG: Generally, I’d say seek an opportunity that aligns with what you believe in. That way, you can ensure you’re giving that venture the very best you have to offer. That’s what we look for in our franchise owners – people who are on board with our mission and are looking to be a part of something that’s much greater than them. We’re bringing a new culinary experience to the market in a way that no one in the U.S. has really done before. We’re offering a product that’s authentic, rich in taste, pure in quality – but the magic behind our growth lies in having passionate owner-operators who believe in that offering. That translates to any franchise opportunity you’re considering. Make sure you can stand behind it 100 percent.
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that Le Macaron French Pastries would be a great opportunity for someone?
RG: We’re perfectly positioned for national growth with many premier locations available. Our unique concept is highly suited for area and multi-unit development, which is good news for entrepreneurs who are looking for a concept they can grow with.
If you want to take the plunge into entrepreneurship with the guidance of an experienced executive team, Le Macaron French Pastries is a dynamic investment with a relatively low start-up cost for a retail concept. With a built-in support system and the backing of a recognized brand, there’s potential to see a meaningful ROI.