La Madeleine Signs New ‘Zee, Continues Refranchising Push
La Madeleine French Bakery and Café is already more than halfway to its goal of refranchising 38 corporate locations, an initiative the brand announced in March at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference.
Dallas-based La Madeleine signed a deal this week with franchisee group HZ LM Casual Foods to acquire 26 company-owned restaurants in Houston and Austin, Texas, and Louisiana. As part of the deal, the group, led by Amin Dhanani, one of the general partners of The Dhanani Group, agreed to develop an additional 57 restaurants. Based in Sugar Land, Texas, The Dhanani Group is also one of the largest franchisees for Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, with about 500 and 200 units, respectively.
“When we launched our refranchising initiative, Amin was the type of partner we had in mind, with his development expertise, proven operations ability and passion for La Madeleine,” said the brand’s president, John Cahill.
The refranchising effort is meant to spark nationwide growth, Cahill explained, and is in line with the franchise focus of La Madeleine’s parent company, Le Duff America, itself a subsidiary of Groupe Le Duff, a leader in the bakery-cafe segment with nearly 1,700 locations across five continents and 80 countries. Upon his arrival in 2016, new Le Duff America CEO Olivier Poirot announced his chief focus would be on growing through franchising.
“Our parent company, Le Duff, this has been their model for years and years in Europe,” said Cahill. “We’re still a fairly small regional system, so how can we get a national footprint? We see franchising as a way to do that.”
La Madeleine will keep its 24 corporate locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market and continue to open new company restaurants.
“Obviously as a good franchisor you’ve got to continue to test your prototype,” said Cahill. “I think we consistently have to open one or two stores a year to keep developing our model, testing new initiatives.”