Want to grow with us?
Through years of operating our own cafes, we have fine-tuned the art of developing and working with financially successful locations primarily in the Northeast corridor of the country. Research tells us there are largely untapped markets across the globe where our unique niche of service and offerings would thrive.
Today, more than 50% of our locations are franchised – a number that we know can be dramatically increased given the right franchise partners. We’re on the lookout for a particular “breed” of franchisee, people who share the same values and dedication to superior guest service and high-quality food standards as we do. Dedicated people. People of integrity, commitment and vision.
If these traits describe you, call us to discuss the world of possibilities. Phone: 617.897.5203.
Location is integral to the success of a café. As an independent business entity the franchisee is responsible for creating a development plan, selecting all café locations within an Area Development Agreement (ADA) and negotiating all lease terms.
Au Bon Pain will provide assistance in creating a plan though the real estate plan is the responsibility of the franchisee.
Real Estate Process & Trade Channels
When a potential café location is being considered a Site Information Package is submitted to the ABP real estate committee. All franchise real estate locations are reviewed by the same real estate committee that reviews corporate locations.
Au Bon Pain’s real estate model is to open cafés in locations that have a significant captured customer population that come to the area based on large sales generators. Each Au Bon Pain trade channel presents unique real estate opportunities and challenges. In general, we seek a ten (10) year lease with several option periods of five (5) years each. Some additional factors are presented below:
Urban Markets are cafés operating in large office buildings in central business districts. Cafés are generally 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and they offer access to a primary street and a building lobby. The trade area for an Urban Market café is about two to three city blocks. The target customers in this type of location are mainly urban professionals, ages 25-50 with a discerning palette whom are time sensitive. Peak serving times are breakfast and lunch and morning/afternoon snack periods.
Hospital Cafés are located in the main lobby of large hospitals. Cafés are generally 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and may be open 24 hours, 7 days per week depending on the size and feeding needs of the hospital. Target customers are hospital employees and administrators as well as patient visitors. We generally seek hospitals with at least 3,500 full time equivalent labor force. The hospital trade channel offers an opportunity to operate many satellite cafés from a master café.
Transportation Center Cafés are located in airports and train stations. These cafés are generally 1,700 to 3,000 square feet. Customers are travelers and employees who seek quick grab-and-go meal solutions “on the fly”. Often these cafés will have limited seating and also offer the opportunity to operate several satellite cafés from a master café.
College Campus Cafés usually operate on college and university grounds and sometimes within a short walk of residence halls and central student shopping and gathering spaces. Cafés are generally 2,500 to 3,500 square feet. Customers are the students, faculty, employees, parents and visitors. We generally seek to open cafés on campuses with at least 10,000 full time undergraduate students.
Shopping Mall Cafés are typically located in large, fashion-anchored closed and open air retail centers and generally 3,000 to 3,500 square feet. We seek higher end fashion centers of at least 1,000,000 square feet for enclosed malls and 400,000 square feet for so called “lifestyle centers” anchored by large, well established, department stores. Customers are shoppers and mall employees, who in fact, represent over 30% of a food court spend. Loyalty programs are a must!
Criteria – Domestic
We want to prepare our franchise partners for optimal success. As such we only sign Area Development Agreements (ADA) based on a territorial market with a minimum unit potential of 5-10 locations. (We do not sell single unit agreements.) This ADA multi-unit potential enables our franchisees to build a significant business in an area with solid earnings potential.
To be considered for an Au Bon Pain franchise, we require that you have the financial and management resources necessary to develop and maintain multiple cafes.
- Offer quality real estate sites in the selected territory
- Sign an ADA for a minimum of 5 units
- Have a minimum net worth of $5M
- Have a liquid net worth of $350k per unit, or approximately $3-4M
- Provide proof of financing from a bank or other financial institution
- Offer multi-unit restaurant business experience and previous experience operating in a franchise environment
- Offer an established management infrastructure within the market you wish to franchise
- Willingness to adhere to the ABP systems and brand marketing standards
- A strong desire to succeed, work hard and be part of a winning team
How much money do I need to be an ABP franchisee?
Generally ABP requires cash liquidity of $350k for each potential location, or $3-4M available depending on the size of the territory. Additionally, there needs to be proof of financing from a bank or other financial institution.
How much does it cost to open a café?
Some basic franchise fees include:
- Area Development Agreement (ADA) fee is $7,500 per location (minimum of 5 units)
- Opening fee is $30k per location
- Royalties are 5%
- Marketing fee 1%
Additional opening costs depend on factors like the territory and location of the café.
Can I open a single unit?
No, we only sign agreements for territories with a minimum unit potential of 5 cafés.
How many years do I have to open a minimum of 5 units?
The amount of time given to open 5 units depends on many of factors, but generally speaking, it is within 5-7 years.
Does ABP provide sites?
No. ABP has a real estate department that will map the area and advise on securing sites and leases, however, all of our franchisees are independent owners/operators and they are responsible for finding locations within our preferred trade channels.
We prefer to discuss franchise opportunities directly with the principals who will be managing the business. If you have serious interest in being considered, please use the online form available here. Please briefly outline your particular area or country of interest, and provide a summary of your current business experience. List your objectives for the potential Au Bon Pain franchise, and verify that you have adequate capital available for the investment.
We will get back to you as soon as possible with a response, and qualified applicants will be sent an application as the first key step in the franchising process.
Thank you for your interest!
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