La Madeleine completes first refranchising phase

Bakery-café chain sells 26 restaurants to HZ LM Casual Foods

La Madeleine French Bakery & Café completed the first phase of its refranchising program last week with the sale of 26 restaurants to Sugar Land, Texas-based HZ LM Casual Foods, the company said.

The Dallas-based bakery-café chain, owned by Le Duff America Inc., said HZ LM Casual Foods is owned by Amin Dhanani, a general partner in multi-concept franchisee The Dhanani Group, and purchased La Madeleine bakeries in the Texas markets of Houston and Austin, and in Louisiana.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In March, La Madeleine said it would refranchise more than half of its company-owned locations.

With Dhanani’s purchase, the 80-unit La Madeleine brand now has 43 franchised units and 37 corporate-owned locations, a spokesperson said.

Olivier Poirot, CEO of Le Duff America, said in a statement: “The Groupe Le Duff model for success is through franchising. This closing represents the first step in our growth initiative, and with partners like Amin, La Madeleine will double in size within the next five years.”

Dhanani and The Dhanani Group operate more than 800 restaurants throughout the United States, including the Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen brands.

Dhanani said he had long patronized La Madeleine and was impressed with the concept’s average unit volumes, which were an estimated $2.1 million in Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 census.

“There’s no doubt La Madeleine is ripe for expansion, and we look forward to growing with them,” Dhanani said in a statement.

In the NRN 2017 Top 200 census, La Madeleine ranked No. 195 in U.S. systemwide sales, posting an estimated $174.6 million, up from $167.9 million in the preceding year.

La Madeleine said it will continue to own and operate its bakery-cafés in Dallas, the company said.

La Madeleine’s parent company, Le Duff America Inc., is the Dallas-based subsidiary of Groupe Le Duff. The subsidiary also operates French-themed brands Mimi’s Cafe and Brioche Doree North America.