The smell of freshly baked bread will soon be hitting Rue Aldringen, just beside the Royal Hamilius shopping centre. Le Pain Quotidien is getting ready to open its communal table-style bakery in early August, in a vast 200m2 cellar that connects with Rue Beck.
“Le Pain Quotidien is a brand that I really like, because above all it promotes quality and simplicity, two values with which I identify,” explains Lou Reiter, franchise-owner for Luxembourg.
A graduate in hotel management from Amsterdam, the Luxembourger has worked in Thailand and also in the grand duchy, where he co-directed the Charles Sandwiches chain and worked as head waiter at the An der Villa restaurant in Steinfort.
Luxembourg, a test market for a new product range
Reiter’s taste for entrepreneurship and his search for an activity with an early daily kickoff time brought him to this particular brand, known for its bread, pastries and savoury offerings. The nearest outlets are currently in Namur and Liège.
The breakfast and brunch offer is fairly weak in Luxembourg City, and I think there’s a place for Le Pain Quotidien.
“The breakfast and brunch offer is pretty weak in Luxembourg City, and I think there’s a place for Le Pain Quotidien,” says Reiter. Soon the franchisee will take part in a programme run by the parent company, which is keen to expand into the takeaway segment. Salad and sandwich recipes will be tested in the Luxembourg outlet as soon as it opens, to gauge demand with a view to offering this range in other outlets.
As well as sourcing fresh produce locally, Reiter is also working with Luxembourg producers on the drinks front, with organic wines from Schmit-Fohl and beers from Wolff Brewing.
“We’ll also be offering a Luxembourgish tartine made with kachkéis, onion confit, arugula, honey mustard and cooked ham,” he adds.
A whetted appetite
Reiter makes no secret of his ambition to open other outlets in Luxembourg. In the meantime, the first one should employ twelve full-time equivalents, seven days a week. In addition to 50 seats indoors, there will be a terrace on Rue Beck and another on Rue Aldringen.
Le Pain Quotidien was founded in Brussels in 1990, and has since expanded rapidly. Its recipe is above all that of its founder Alain Coumont, who emphasises the taste of traditional bread as he knew it from his childhood. Customers sit at a large communal table or on smaller tables, in a warm and woody setting that evokes the countryside. And the recipe works: in 1997, the brand was exported to New York before embarking on a world tour.
Today, Le Pain Quotidien is present in 16 countries with 195 bakeries via a network of franchise-owners from Buenos Aires to Tokyo. And while a restructuring plan was recently announced in the UK, Le Pain Quotidien’s ambition this year alone is to open in five new markets: Saudi Arabia, Greece, Morocco and Uruguay, not forgetting Luxembourg, which will become its 17th market.
This article in French in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.