The Cafe Opportunity

 
Bakery managers are wise to pay close attention to the latest developments in the bakery café sector. A new report by Technomic reveals that bakery cafes are witnessing patronage in the morning and at dinner, fueling a growth in sales.
 
Also important from the Technomic report is that more bakery cafe consumers now (43 percent) than in 2014 (36 percent) say the availability of nutritional information is very important, aligning with consumers’ growing demands for menu transparency.
 
One recent development involving the growth of bakery cafes is happening this year in San Francisco. A year after The Starbucks Coffee Co. closed its La Boulange retail bakeries, Pascal Rigo has reopened a handful of the bakeries under the La Boulangerie de San Francisco name.
 
Rigo opened the first La Boulange location in San Francisco in 1999 and joined Starbucks as part of its $100 million 2012 acquisition of La Boulange from a management and investment group. At the time, La Boulange was operating 19 retail locations in the Bay Area. In June 2015 Starbucks said it was closing the bakeries (the number had grown to 23) as well as two manufacturing plants. Rigo left the Starbucks at the time.
 
Over the past year, Rigo has turned a handful of former La Boulange locations into La Boulangerie de San Francisco. A sixth location is slated to open shortly on Sutter Street in the Financial District. The bakery cafés offer baked foods, sandwiches and salads as well as beverages.
 
According to news reports, La Boulangerie also is selling its baked foods in Trader Joe’s and Coscto stores, making the products in a 40,000-square-foot facility it reopened in South San Francisco. The publication said the Trader Joe’s product is sold under store brands, including one line dubbed Pain Pascal in a “nod” to Mr. Rigo.
 
La Boulangerie plans to open as many as 40 locations in the Bay Area.
 
A year after announcing plans to close the La Boulange locations, Starbucks said it was partnering with Princi, a high-end Italian bakery and café founded by Rocco Princi in 1986.