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Paris Baguette Planting West Coast Base in OC

Paris Baguette, the French-inspired bakery chain with an aggressive expansion push planned for the U.S. over the next decade, is the latest notable food-related business to put a large portion of its operations in Orange County.

The company, founded in South Korea and with an international base of more than 4,000 stores, recently closed on the purchase of a 54,000-square-foot office property along Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, the Business Journal has learned.

The three-story building, across the street from the city’s Ikea shopping center and next to Anduril Industries’ new headquarters, is expected to serve as the company’s new West Coast headquarters.

Paris Baguette USA, headquartered in New Jersey, generated an estimated $150 million in revenue in 2019, according to restaurant data firm Technomic Inc.

An affiliate of the company paid $16.6 million, or roughly $308 per square foot, for the vacant building at 3330 Harbor Blvd., which was last used by online college California Southern University.

The university’s founder sold the building to Paris Baguette, according to Trent Walker, executive vice president with the Irvine office of brokerage Voit Real Estate Services, who worked on the sale.

Paris Baguette is expected to add a small number of administrative positions into the facility shortly, according to Walker.

There’s no indication that the company’s started actively hiring for the Costa Mesa spot, based on the company’s jobs page.

Franchise Focus

The West Coast operations hub comes amid a busy period for Paris Baguette, a neighborhood bakery café concept whose food counts ties both to France and Korea.

The chain is known for hand-baked pastries and bread, coffee and tea, similar to 85°C Bakery Cafe, the Taiwanese chain that has its U.S. base in Brea.

Paris Baguette currently counts more than 90 locations across the U.S., primarily located on the east and west coasts. It has nine spots in OC, including locations in Fullerton, Brea, Garden Grove, Orange and multiple spots in Irvine.

The company said last week it expects to open 1,000 new locations in the U.S. by 2030, via an aggressive franchising model. Last year was its most active year for signing new franchises, with over 120 agreements struck, company official recently said.

The total investment to franchise with Paris Baguette ranges from nearly $530,000 to over $1.6 million, including a $50,000 franchise fee, according to the company’s website.

The growth comes under a new management team for Paris Baguette. Darren Tipton was named CEO for the company’s U.S. operations, replacing former CEO Jack Moran, who became the company’s global chief, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Both were formerly with another bakery concept, Le Pain Quotidien.

Growing Cluster

The Paris Baguette deal adds another notable name to OC’s cluster of restaurant businesses, a sector that’s seen several new additions the past year.

The Business Journal last year was first to report on California Pizza Kitchen moving its headquarters from Los Angeles to Costa Mesa. CPK, estimated to do about $420 million in business last year, is leasing about 38,000 square feet of space at the Met office complex.

WaBa Grill, which counted some $136 million in sales last year according to Technomic, is in the process of moving from the City of Industry to Anaheim.

That fast-casual chain, known for its rice bowls and salads, paid about $5.6 million for a 15,300-square-foot building at 181 S. Old Springs Road for its new headquarters. 

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