A global expert in contemporary French gastronomy, FAUCHON embodies the art of French living around the world. In this interview, RLI spends some time with company COO – Europe and Americas, Sandrine Girault, who talks to us about the growth of the business and how it is expanding into different fields and sectors.
When Auguste Fauchon put his suitcases down at Place de la Madeleine in Paris in 1886, his goal was to introduce Parisians to the high quality products from the French region of Normandy. Over a century of French gastronomic expertise later, FAUCHON today presents its extensive knowledge and exacting standards throughout its brand extensions including patisserie and gourmet foods, fine dining and cafes, shops, five-star hospitality and catering.
The company today operates 61 stores worldwide including two FAUCHON hotels. They have a strong presence in France, Japan and the Middle East region and they have also recently started expanding the brand into Latin America, namely in Mexico City.
“Recently, we have opened a new shop-in-shop within the Galeries Lafayette department store along with a new tea shop in Paris in Le Marais and new points of sale within airports in France,” explains Sandrine Girault, COO – Europe & Americas at FAUCHON. “Meanwhile outside of France, we have recently opened a flagship site in Jeddah which is home to both a shop and restaurant.”
Branching out of the iconic, 137-year old FAUCHON brand, FAUCHON Hospitality has brought a unique blend of gourmet luxury to the hotel industry in recent years. Its flagship property in Paris launched in 2018 and this was followed by the Kyoto opening in 2021. Both sites elevate the guest experience by intertwining culinary expertise with unparalleled hospitality.
Recently awarded best boutique hotel in Paris by Conde Nast Traveller, FAUCHON hotels aim to create sensorial journeys especially in tune with feminine guests, offering personalised “Gourmet Bars” with complimentary FAUCHON products in guest rooms. The brand is on an ambitious growth trajectory, targeting key markets globally to expand its portfolio of boutique hotels in the Middle East, Japan, Europe and the US.
As they continue to look forward, FAUCHON has a dynamic and global growth plan, which currently encompasses the launch of a third hotel site in Saudi Arabia, five new corners in Mexico City, new downtown and travel retail sites in Paris and across France and four new points of sale in both Qatar and Turkey. Further into the future, the company is looking to develop the brand in Europe and to enter new markets like the US and Canada as well as new Asian markets.
To maintain its leading position in the market, the company consistently creates a range of new products each calendar year, launching around 50 new items and incorporating new collections for calendar highlights such as Christmas and Easter. In addition, they continue to enhance their overall brand experience and have developed a loyalty programme which is available both online and in their stores to thank their customers.
“In addition we pay attention to the service in our stores so that our FAUCHON ambassadors share their passion and knowledge about the brand. We want each customer to enjoy the experience, learn a bit more of our company history and of the artisanal creation of our products. We regularly organise tastings along with workshops in our stores (for example, how to make a cocktail based around tea) and we have recently developed a tea shop concept and offer the possibility for customers to create their own herbal tea in store, which is a unique and fully personalised experience,” Girault highlights.
Across social media, the business engages its audience with its unique and engaging content across multiple platforms. These platforms offer FAUCHON the opportunity to improve its visibility worldwide, bringing them closer to customers in every country in which they are situated and they adapt their material accordingly to each market.
Sustainability is now a mainstay in the world of retail and FAUCHON has been selected by CITEO to work on a project to cut down on any unnecessary packaging of its biscuit boxes. Furthermore, they have recently modified their shopping bags, getting rid of their glossy lamination and their tea bags are now crafted in PLA, a bio-sourced material of vegetable origin and biodegradable in conditions of industrial composting.
As the topic of discussion moves onto the implementation of enhanced digital strategies, Girault highlights how the company has been investing heavily in digital development as an integral part of their expansion strategy in France and internationally. She continues by saying that their website ships to countries across Europe and offers its full range of products, tea, macaroons, chocolates, gift boxes, caviar and other exceptional products.
“Additionally, as a result of incredible demand for our products in other markets, we have launched an exciting new digital collaboration with igourmet.com in the US and recently begun a digital collaboration in the UK with theluxuryfoodcollective.com,” says Girault.
A unique brand and part of the French patrimony with a strong history and know-how, FAUCHON is a multi-specialist brand with several product categories and it has been a training ground for many major French pastry chefs. Along with this, the company has built a presence in the industry through its four fields of expertise which highlight its innovative culinary know-how in the fields of shops, restaurants, hotels and schools. It is for these reasons that Girault feels the brand stands out from the crowd and has a concept unique in the industry.
“We need to keep on innovating, creating new products and continuing to be consistent with our brand and our legacy. We must constantly adapt our concepts and offer in the countries in which we are situated as well as putting together bespoke offers in locations where we want to be present, like all other brands must do in order to attain the attention of younger generations,” explains Girault as our time with her comes to an end.