South Africans are in for a sticky, sweet, frothy caffeine-laden treat when Paul, the family-owned French chain of bakery-cafés, sets out its stall in the country, thanks to a licensing deal with Famous Brands announced on Tuesday.
Those who thought the arrival of Starbucks was something to be celebrated had better fasten their seatbelts. Established in 1889 in Croix, in Northern France, Paul has already laid a trail of chic and chocolatey stores across Europe, Africa, Asia, America and the Middle East, and is now represented in 41 countries.
Famous Brands’ Group chief executive Kevin Hedderwick said of the 10-year deal announced on Tuesday: “This partnership is the culmination of a two-year courtship between Famous Brands and Paul … we are particularly delighted to add a brand of the stature of Paul to our existing elite brand bouquet.”
He said that Paul, which was “rooted in French baking tradition, which dates back 120 years and five generations”, served more than five million customers a month in its 400-plus bakeries across France. “The patron loyalty factor is extraordinary; we look forward to generating similar enthusiasm for the brand in this country.”
In terms of the agreement, Famous Brands will open five restaurants over a five-year period in three trading formats. The first flagship Paul restaurant is scheduled to open by the end of 2016.
A spokesman for the group told African News Agency that the first store would open in Johannesburg, “but there is definitely an intention to roll out the network nationwide”.
Welcoming the deal, Maxime Holder, president of Paul International, said: “South Africa is one of the most sophisticated, diverse and promising emerging markets globally.” – African News Agency (ANA)