Gema Boiza. Journalist. @GemaBoiza
Le Pain Quotidien, which was created 23 years ago and specializes in breads and organic foods, has exported its business model to 18 countries for a total of 150 locales. It has a presence in Spain (since 2008) with five boutiques in Madrid and one in Barcelona. Alain Coumont, founder of the Belgian brand, also told Wiki Spanish Food that the company will open another establishment in Barcelona before summer, and aims to continue to grow in both cities. He also advanced plans to open its first restaurant in Chicago as part of its ongoing growth in the US, the first country the company expanded into from Belgium.
What projects is Le Pain Quotidien planning in Spain?
We want to strengthen our business model and open new establishments in Barcelona and Madrid. We’re not planning on entering any other Spanish cities in the short term. Our goal is to continue to focus on locations where we already have a presence.
How many jobs has Le Pain Quotidien created in Spain since its arrival in 2008?
The company currently has a staff of 150. We have six locales—five in Madrid and one in Barcelona—and in early summer we will open another in the latter.
How do you view the Spanish market with respect to your company's performance?
Our operating model is excellent. We are very proud of how our locales and teams are functioning. They all do an excellent job.
How important is the Spanish market for the company?
It is extremely important for us, as we consider Spain a country with enormous potential. It has become a world leader on the gastronomy scene in recent years. I believe the crisis has favored and increased the quality of its human capital.
What do you believe will happen if the Spanish government decides to raise VAT?
Increasing VAT would be a serious mistake, as it would have a very negative impact on Spain's restaurants.
Is there room for more bakeries in Spain?
There is absolutely room for quality bakeries.
How popular are organic foods among Spanish consumers?
Demand is growing. It doesn't grow at the same pace as more mature markets in this sector, but interest in organic, local and seasonal products is becoming inevitable.
What are Le Pain Quotidien's internationalization plans?
At the moment, we want to continue to expand in markets where we already operate. In two weeks we will open our first restaurant in Chicago, followed by another two next month. We are very interested in Asia, but we have no specific plans at the moment.
Will you be making any changes to Le Pain Quotidien's menu?
I wouldn't describe them as "changes"; I would refer to it as "development". We are trying to work with local partners who provide us with top-flight products for each season.
Has the company changed its price policy during the financial crisis?
No, not at all.