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Pascal Rigo sells La Boulange to Starbucks for $100 million

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am so disappointed to hear that Pascal Rigo sold La Boulange to Starbucks. If you've been to San Francisco you may have eaten at one of Pascal's Boulanges... here's their website: http://laboulangebakery.com/


I do admire the accomplishment, and the $100,000,000 he received from Starbucks probably didn't hurt. 


But what about the passion for cooking good food? What happened to that? La Boulange was one of my favorite place to eat in the U.S., and I would eat there at least once a day when I would go to San Francisco. The food was absolutely delicious, IMO better than in many boulangeries you find in France! 


So now that he sold to Starbucks I can buy "La Boulange" food at my local starbucks down here in Los Angeles. The problem is... the food doesn't look ANYTHING like what I used to eat in San Francisco! It just looks like bad industrial Starbucks food. In fact I think I'd rather have a Starbucks blueberry muffin or lemon pound cake than one of those dried out, sad looking wrinkled La-Boulange-wanna-bees. 


And on the other hand, what about that freshly made coffee you used to get at La Boulange? Replaced with the standardized over-over-roasted-so-bad-it-just-tastes-burnt Starbuck coffee. 


I guess that's what happens when you make it big. I don't know what makes me sadder, seeing Starbucks implanted in France, or this news. 


I'll have to find a new place for breakfast in San Francisco. 



post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

In one article I read 


"Starbucks has 40 million customers per week in America," Rigo says. "How do you scale that? How do you bring great product to that many people?"


The only answer that came to me was "You can't." - and I was right: 


The foods are reproduced using the same recipes, he says, and then instantly frozen and shipped to their destination.

So much for eating fresh pastries. 

post #3 of 6


Knew a guy and his company that made and provided Stah-bucks with pastries here in Vancouver.  Not saying it was fantastic, but it was decent and at least fresh.  Everyone knew what would happen eventually, and the guy had developed new customers for the day it would happen. 


And it did, Stah-bucks dropped him and brought in ALL of their pastries, frozen and individually packaged from somewhere waaay in the middle of the States.


Meh...  Here in Canada we have Tim Hortons, a fairly large coffee and donut chain.  Up untill about a few years ago each location would bake or fry their own stuff.  Not anymore, it all comes from a central factory, frozen and individually wrapped.....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey foodpump - what a shame, those two stories you report. Am I the only one who thinks it's sad that we're progressively lowering our food standards?


What drives me nuts is that they market it as "Artisanal French Pastries"... but there's NOTHING French about a frozen croissant that is flash baked in 10 seconds and served warm. Nothing French about a warm defrosted sandwich. In France, the only time your croissant is warm is when it comes out of the baker's oven. So if you've partied all night and still aren't in bed by 5am - or if you're crazy enough to already be up at 5am, you can get a warm croissant, otherwise you eat the croissant at room temp. 


And what's artisanal about having the "largest freezer rollout in the history of the world" (that's what they claim)?


I'd rather go to my local donut shop, where I always have to wait for the baker to realize a customer walked in because he's busy BAKING (not defrosting and flash-reheating) than eating warm defrosted "Artisanal French Pastries". 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well in typical big corporation fashion, after buying it for $100 millions, Starbucks killed La Boulange. Now Pascal Rigo will reopen his original Boulanges, he's just $100 millions richer. Good for him. 



post #6 of 6

Good for him!  And good for us who can visit San Francisco. Once again we can get a good pastry. The MacD's version was OK but nothing like the real thing.

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