Johannesburg; Tuesday, 28 February 2017: Famous Brands will celebrate the official launch of global bakery-café brand, PAUL, in South Africa on Thursday, 2 March, with the opening of the Group’s flagship PAUL restaurant, situated in Melrose Arch, Gauteng. Established in 1889 in Northern France, PAUL is currently represented in 36 countries through 673 outlets worldwide.
Announced in November 2015, Famous Brands signed an exclusive license agreement with the French family-owned company to become PAUL’s South African Licensed Partner for a ten-year period.
Darren Hele, Famous Brands’ CEO, says, “The opening of our flagship PAUL restaurant is the culmination of 15 months of close partnership between our two teams to ensure that the execution of this project has been at the highest international standard. Importing a global brand of this stature has been an excellent learning curve, bringing with it best practice benchmarks that will benefit our business in a number of key areas.”
Over 80 jobs have been created in this process, across a wide range of positions including bakers and chefs, pastry chefs, kitchen assistants, baristas and waiters. Four additional positions have been created at Head Office level, including Head of Pastry and Head Chef.
Hele comments, “We are delighted that skills transfer comprises a significant component of the new jobs created. At senior level, the candidates underwent intensive eight-week training at PAUL’s state of the art facilities in Lille, France, as well as on-site in a number of the brand’s training restaurants in France and the UK. These learnings have been brought back to the South African operation and transferred to the local PAUL team. Given the brand’s 128-year heritage, it was critical that our local team received the best training possible across the operation to deliver on customers’ expectations of an acclaimed global brand.”
While PAUL supplies a wide range of licensed products for use in its restaurants, Famous Brands has also had the opportunity to supply other approved specified items locally, through its integrated supply chain.
The Melrose Arch restaurant is a combination of bakery-patisserie-café, with a full table service 180-seater restaurant and signature display counter for ‘grab-and-go’ orders. Skilled artisan bakers will craft breads and pastries within customer view in the bespoke bakery and patisserie. The trademark PAUL décor is rustic-chic, suggesting a hint of yester-year.
Brent Kairuz, Managing Executive of PAUL South Africa, notes, “PAUL’s classic, authentic French offering is underpinned by constant innovation and international cutting edge trends, which will provide an important point of differentiation in the market. As the most recognisable French bakery brand globally, PAUL gives us first-mover status in an under-serviced category in the local market.”
Famous Brands’ Group Strategic Advisor, Kevin Hedderwick, who was responsible for negotiating the partnership with PAUL International in 2015, comments, “PAUL adds substantial stature to theGroup’s signature brand bouquet. PAUL’s values of craftsmanship, quality and tradition respond perfectly to the growing consumer demand for premiumisation and customisation.”
PAUL International Chairman, Maxime Holder, who has been closely involved in the local launch, including conducting Media and Bloggers’ Baking Classes, says, “When we concluded the agreement in 2015, I noted that PAUL, like Famous Brands, is a family business; the entrepreneurial cultures of each company are well aligned. This has been an important factor in successfully bringing PAUL to this country. South Africa is a promising emerging growth market and this together with Famous Brands’ track record and experience in the industry augurs well for our long-term partnership.”
Hele notes, “The license agreement with PAUL is based on a company-owned model, which aligns with our investment strategy to grow Famous Brands’ base of company-owned stores.”
In terms of the license agreement, Famous Brands is contracted to open five company-owned PAUL outlets over a five year period. The initial roll-out programme will be focused on Gauteng given that the Melrose Arch bakery and patisserie facilities are designed to service other PAUL outlets up to three times daily.