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Bakery Chains Rising To The Top

Bracha Arnold
January 17, 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top

Few things are as universally loved as freshly baked bread. And the options for where to find a loaf are plentiful, from local artisan shops to bakery chains to grocery store bread counters. Is there room in the crowded bakery scene for everyone? We take a closer look at the visitation data for a few bakery chains that are on the rise to find out. 

  1. Paris Baguette's Bakery Boom

Paris Baguette, the South Korean bakery and cafe chain, inaugurated its first U.S. store in Los Angeles in 2005. True to its name, the chain offers a menu inspired by classic French boulangeries with a Korean twist – think mochi donuts sold alongside croissants.  

Paris Baguette hopes to operate 1,000 stores across the country by 2030; to that end, it embraced a franchising approach in 2015 to accelerate growth and store openings. Visitation patterns suggest that this move has proven itself to be a winning one.

Examining the change in monthly visits to Paris Baguette locations since November 2019 underscores the brand’s remarkable growth. The chain operated 77 stores in the U.S. in November 2019; today, that number has nearly doubled. And visits have soared accordingly, with December 2023 seeing 96.7% more monthly visits than December 2019. 

As Paris Baguette continues to see its success rising, the bakery chain appears well-positioned to maintain its momentum and achieve its ambitious expansion plans.

  1. 85°C Bakery: Family Friendly Fare 

85°C Bakery, often dubbed the "Starbucks of Taiwan," made its way to the U.S. in 2008. The chain, which operated 59 U.S. stores as of March 2023 in addition to its significant international presence, seeks to solidify its standing in the American market.

Named after the ideal coffee-brewing temperature, 85°C has enjoyed year-over-year (YoY) foot traffic growth throughout most of 2023. And the chain, which currently operates in the West and in Texas, announced plans for an East Coast expansion in August 2023, signaling its intent to reach new consumer segments.

Diving into the visitation data reveals that 85°C not only enjoys strong monthly foot traffic but also draws more family households (defined by the PersonaLive dataset) to its trade areas compared to the statewide average. In California, Texas, and Washington, the trade areas show an overrepresentation of "Near-Urban Diverse Families," "Ultra Wealthy Families," and "Wealthy Suburban Families." This suggests that families – particularly affluent ones – are drawn to the chain. 

As 85°C continues expanding, including into new markets and dining concepts – such as the recent addition of a dumpling shop – the chain hopes to continue bringing its Taiwanese flavors to a wider audience.

  1. Tartine & Portos: California Dreaming

Tartine and Porto’s are two Los Angeles natives with very different approaches to dough. Tartine, the brainchild of breadmasters Chad Robertson and Elizabeth Prueitt, is thought to have brought sourdough bread into the mainstream in the U.S. Porto’s, on the other hand, began as an immigrant-owned bakery in the 1970s, bringing the taste of Cuba to California.

And the two chains, while both based in the same city, see significant differences in their visitor demographics. Analyzing visitors to both bakery brands using the STI: Popstats dataset reveals that, while 29.1% of Porto’s captured market* trade area was made up of households with children – very close to the California median of 29.6% – only 17.3% of Tartine’s captured market* trade area was made up of households with children. And the median household income (HHI) also showed significant variance between the brands, with Tartine visitors earning significantly more than Porto’s and the California median HHI.
*A business’s captured market refers to the trade area with each census block weighted according to its share of visits to the chain or venue in question.

The variance in demographics across these two iconic Los Angeles bakeries serves as testament to the city's diverse culinary landscape and ability to embrace and sustain a wide array of eateries. 

Give Us Our Daily Bread

The four bakeries prove that there is plenty of room in a crowded kitchen for different kinds of bakeries to succeed, from tiny artisan bakeries to major chains.

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