Paris Baguette goes to… Paris?

In a move that can be determined as either the height of hubris or the proverbial roll of the dice, the parent company of Paris Baguette has decided to open up its newest location in the heart of Paris, France.

(Photo from Korean Herald)

Ah, notice the “Boulangerie” (French for “bakery”) sign a bit more prominently displayed than the “PB” or “Paris Baguette” signage.  Personally, I question the attempt to bring croissants infused with hot dogs to a population as finicky with their pastries as the French.  Then again, it couldn’t have been more offensive as opening up a Taco Bell in Mexico or a Pizza Hut in Italy.  Wait, there are no Pizza Huts in Italy.  Good thing too as it might create some anti-American backlash.

Asia observer Donald Kirk pens an interesting article over at Forbes with his take:

[SPC Group is]… opening a Paris Baguette, mais oui, in the heart of the city that provides its name.  Along with French restaurants that are truly French, Paris Baguette decided to compete where it’s likely to attract the most scrutiny and appraisal by knowledgeable customers.

[…]

The idea is to go beyond the chain’s Korean roots, to show it’s truly French, to match the most sophisticated, subtlest tastes of any French restaurant. In keeping with that approach, Paris Baguette is a little reluctant to publicize its history as a Korean company in the hands of a Korean billionaire, Hur Young-in,  chairman of  SPC

So, to “show it’s truly French” to French people in Paris, huh?  Okay, good luck with that Mr. Hur.

  • redwhitedude

    Is this going to go the way of Pocari Sweat in the US or Chevy Nova in Mexico?

  • Aja Aja

    Is this some nerve or what, eh?

    I think it may work. There’s nothing about this chain to suggest the origin is Korean. The French maybe fooled into liking it, thinking it really is from Paris.

  • wangkon936
  • RElgin

    Pure hubris. They will sell ice water to Eskimos, yes?

  • Aja Aja

    Looks good to me. Unhealthily mouth watering.

  • wangkon936

    Lotteria burgers to Americans!

  • wangkon936

    Not if you are a Frenchie.

    I wonder if it will have a historical/cultural tinge to it? A French croissant wrapped around a Germanic sausage? Hummm….

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    In another article, I read PB hired a French chef to redo the menu to “glocalize” the food to meet French tastes. I gathered from that, hot dogs in a bun smothered with the lowest quality ketchup, liquid cheese and corn syrup dusted with a hint of corn will not be on the shelf.

  • wangkon936

    Good lord I hope not.

  • A Korean

    Aren’t we all so snooty today.

  • A Korean

    I can eat couple of those. But is that mayo?

  • redwhitedude

    Looks like something that I might get in a hot dog stall at a baseball game.

  • Aja Aja

    You never had hotdogs wrapped in French croissants?
    Hot dogs wrapped in Pilsbury dough?

    It’s as American as apple pie. Look at what google search brought up.

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=french+croissant+hot+dogs&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ykPQU7-0JMOSyATV-IGgDA&ved=0CGIQsAQ&biw=1310&bih=690

  • Aja Aja

    hotdog with mayo, ketchup, cheese.

  • A Korean

    Mayo on hot dog. Savages.

  • Aja Aja

    not quite.

    According to Joongang Ilbo:

    “The bakery chain with more than 3,000 stores in Korea said that it has hired experienced bakers from France to work at the store and also sent Korean bakers to train them using Paris Baguette’s traditional recipes. However, only French ingredients are used to make goods in the Paris store.”

    So the bakers are French, but the recipe is still PB’s. However I wonder what they mean when they say “French ingredients”.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Not quite what?

    PB traditional recipes? Puuuuuleeeeeease.

  • brier

    Well I wish Paris Baguette luck. If they localize and the parent company is footing the bills it will run along. I just hope hubris doesn’t overcome the operation if it starts to succeed! Such as replacing the French chef with a co-ethnic and having the group think start.

  • brier

    I just don’t get it, but I can see how it would appeal to middle class Korean housewives and hassled part-time working mums looking for a quick afternoon snack for the kids.

  • Aja Aja

    hotdog in croissant covered in ketchup and mayo

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Yes, a traditional PB recipe lovingly passed down from one factory to the next.

  • wangkon936

    Nope. Never had a hot dog wrapped in a croissant. Sounds kinda good, but kinda unhealthy too.

  • wangkon936

    Where is Joe McPherson when you need him?

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/ Horace Jeffery Hodges

    “[T]he parent company of Paris Baguette has decided to open up its newest location in the heart of Paris, France.”

    PB may get a lot of feedback from the French.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • jg29a

    Not cold, I haven’t.

  • Sumo294

    You guys are likely to be wrong–McDonald’s at the Louvre is one of the most profitable in the world. About twenty percent of Parisians prefer food from other cultures–enough to keep it profitable.

  • redwhitedude

    As I suggested it could go the way of Pocari Sweat in the US or Chevy Nova in Mexico.

  • 코리아

    But it’s a bakery called Paris Baguette in the heart of Paris! If it was something traditionally Korean (or perhaps even marketed as a Korean bakery? Nah that wouldn’t work) maybe it could get the “let’s try something different/foreign foodie” crowd. This, however, is like a German pizza chain called New York Pizza decided to open a shop in the middle of Manhattan (oh and by the way their style of pizza isn’t New York).

  • http://thekoreanforeigner.blogspot.kr/ John Lee

    I thought that the tone here was overly negative. It’s true that the pastries that Paris Baguette sells in Korea is hardly up to standard when it comes to pastries that is produced in the West. Just like it is quite sub-par when most Westerners prepare Asian cuisine. However, that is what is sold in the Korean market because it is what is in demand.

    It is facetious to imagine that Paris Baguette will attempt to sell the same items that it sells in Korea in the French market. And there are many businesses in the world that try to hide information such as their country of origin or their parent companies. For instance, there are still people to this day who believe that Samsung is a Japanese company due to the company’s (at least initial) downplaying of its Korean roots. Similarly, Jaguar Motors, which has always been one of the symbols of British ingenuity has been owned by Tata Motors, an Indian company, since 2008, which people don’t really talk about.

    For good or bad, perceptions have always mattered in businesses and it is no different this time around for Paris Baguette. Whether people like this company or its products or not, credit has to be given where it is due – this was a bold decision. And we all know that famous quote about fortune and boldness, no?

  • RElgin

    The French spit in the mixing bowl.
    Korean bakers to train them!
    That is Iike teaching your grandmother how to suck eggs. This such a load of bollocks.

  • Sumo294

    I am waiting for an American to open a kimbab and kimchi stew place in Korea. Many Koreans will go there out of curiosity. What if McDonald’s started offering McKimbaps with sweet and sour sauce?

  • Sumo294

    The Frenchies are poor . . . they will do anything their corporate overlords tell them to do.

  • Aja Aja

    lol, I didn’t expect this much negativity, but OK..lol

  • Aja Aja

    I really don’t see why such negativity. Americans sell their Taco Bell’s and Pizza Hut’s, and Canadians sell their Ho Lee Chow Chinese takeouts. They are all inferior derivatives of the original sources. But this is no problem of course.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/ Horace Jeffery Hodges

    The Chevy Nova example is an urban myth that probably originated in a specious joke, but I can see how Pocari Sweat’s name would be off-putting if the drink were to be marketed in an English-speaking country. Has it been aggressively marketed in the US? What happened — miserable failure?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • redwhitedude

    You want people to drink sweat?

  • Sumo294

    Either way–I think this is good for PB–in about three years I think we will start to see some better products at this end–tastier stuff on Korean shelves. You learn by competing with the best in the game. If you can sell sausages to Germans–you are doing alright by sausage standards.

  • redwhitedude

    As long as you don’t take a drubbing by consumers.

  • norimix

    That hotdog is actually good..

  • norimix

    Actually I’ve eaten at a food truck run by a fat white dude who was slinging Korean BBQ meat and kimchi stuffed into Mexican tortillas in Orange County.. Appropriating two cultures for the price of one..

  • piratariaazul

    It will be interesting to see. You can get some great (and very inexpensive) French baguettes in Southern California, from boulangeries /sandwich shops run by … Vietnamese immigrants.

    So you never know ….

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/ Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Now, that’s feed back from the frank . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • wangkon936

    Pocari Sweat tastes kinda like a crisper (and more fruit ambiguous) version of 7-Up.

  • redwhitedude

    Never liked it.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    People, when will you stop worshipping the stupid French and their overrated cuisine? Subtle, sophisticated? Give me a break. French food is nothing special and the French are not sophisticated.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    I guess you’ve never been to France or studied French. But you may have eaten french onion soup once before.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Ive been to France several times. You must be American. Europeans don’t worship the French like you Americans do. perhaps it says more about you than the French.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    I’m not American. I guess your Sherlock-like acumen coupled with an Edmund Hillary-like sense of geography says something about you. I wonder what that might be?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Then you must be from one of the other uncultured British colonies that worship anything with more than 200 years of history. What is it? Canada? Australia? New Zealand?

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Getting warmer. Though you’re a little off with the worship thing. It’s more like holding a nose to anything older than 200 years old. And, let me assure you there are more than three uncultured British colonies.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Well, I just mentioned the 3 most common ones for ESLers in Korea. You’re pathetic the way you prostrate yourself before the French and their overpriced, overrated “cuisine” and “culture.”

  • norimix

    I’ve always thought it tasted like Gatorade without the faux fruit flavoring..

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    You lose.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The loser is always going to be you. On your knees before the French.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    I’m a loser so why don’t you kill me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgSPaXgAdzE

  • DC Musicfreak

    There is very little worship of France, and a good bit of mockery, in the land of Freedom Fries. You are making up shit again, salaryman.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The US is a big country, and you are painting it all with one brush. I am saying something very easy to understand, you are just showing your inability to comprehend:

    Where you find worshippers of all things French, it will most likely be an American, followed by a citizen of one of the Commonwealth countries. One is unlikely to see Europeans blindly worshipping things because they are French.

    Take bread. French bread is not even the most delicious in Europe. The Germans, for example, do it far better than the French.

  • Aja Aja

    Here’s a Korean news report on Paris Baguette in Paris (they deliberately don’t mention the name of the franchise).

    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=shm&sid1=104&oid=055&aid=0000282785

    The place looks fairly crowded, while putting emphasis on localized French style breads, but they’re still sticking with Korean style cake recipes.

  • wangkon936

    Yes, but the Viets have genuine experience. They were a French colony for around 70 years, after all.

  • wangkon936

    Excellent find. They seem to actually like it, however time will tell.

  • wangkon936

    WSJ article today on PB moving into France:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/paris-baguette-a-south-korean-chain-has-found-a-new-marketparisians-1407378604

    So far, Mr. Hur and his team, keenly aware of the challenges of selling bread to the French, are striking the right tone. “We regard France as the spiritual home of our bakery products,” Mr. Hur said in a statement.

    I thought that was Japan, no?

    Well, apparently they have adapted to local tastes (or at least tried).

    Lee Kang-san, a 23-year-old medical student in Paris, was so excited by the arrival of Paris Baguette that he made a point of visiting the store on opening day in search of the creamy pastries he had come to love in Korea.

    “We wanted to taste products we like back home and can’t find in Paris,” Mr. Lee said. “We were a bit disappointed.”

  • RElgin

    Lee Kang-san made me laugh and laugh . . .
    I thought he went there for an education but . . . quel dommage.

  • wangkon936

    Well, think of it this way. You are studying in Scotland, lonely, bored and missing home. All of a sudden, in a corner of Edinburgh a McDonald’s opens up. You are excited for a little taste of home, you bite into that Scottish Big Mac and to your horror find out that it’s been tainted and made inedible by a huge glob of mayonnaise. True story. Happened to a friend of mine back in college.

  • RElgin

    Yuck. This is why I learned to cook.

  • Xman2014

    It’s doing so well, they’re expanding further into France, opening up another store. This is so funny how this mockery that nobody thought seriously would succeed, is turning out to be.

    http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2015/03/25/2015032502280.html

  • wangkon936

    Mockery is one of the prime skills that Western expats (particularly those coming in to “teach” English) bring to Korea. It requires only experience in snark and a requisite superiority complex. You think these people actually know how to build anything or know the blood, sweat and tears involved to build a business, let alone a country? In most cases no.

    It’s all “I spit at your shitty country…” and “much obliged” once the check clears.