the Toulouse brand La Côte et l’Arête on the rise throughout France

When twin brothers, Ivan and Benoit Chambon opened their first restaurant, La Côte et l’Arête, in 2009, in Aucamville, they never expected such success. Today, the brand, which offers authentic cuisine around meat and fish, has 16 establishments in Occitania and across France in: Toulouse, Labège, Montauban, Aucamville, Blagnac, Albi, Clermond-Ferrand, Bordeaux – Villenave d’Ornon, Bordeaux – Bassin à flots, Lyon – Carré de Soie, Toulon – La-Valette-du-Var, Plaisance du Touch, Chambéry, Claye-Souilly and Tours. The restaurant group from Toulouse does not intend to stop there.

“Frankly, we did not imagine that. We grew up as we went along. Our parents were traders just like our grandparents. We were cradled in the middle of entrepreneurship. For my part, I made a business school option entrepreneurship. We have always thought 360 degrees for the customer. It is he who must be seduced, it is he who must be pleased. It is this equation that must be found and that we have to solve,” explains Benoît Chambon, co-founder of the brand.

Catering: La Côte et l’Arête wants to be exported outside of Toulouse

Betting on the franchise to double the number of establishments

Among the group’s sixteen restaurants, twelve are in branches and four in franchises (Chambéry, Tours, Claye-Souilly et Pleasure of Touch). In the future, the company’s strategy is simple: accelerate the opening of new franchises, even sell certain restaurants today to franchisees in order to concentrate, refocus on “the product and the concept” and capitalize “where the added value needs to be”.

“We have a classic operation. We only take what is good in the franchise. Of our 16 restaurants, none resembles another precisely so as not to have this stereotyped, sterilized side of the franchise where there is a concept of common decoration and duplicate restaurants. On the other hand, as far as the menu is concerned, we know that we must master it and be as regular as possible with the customer, so it is identical for everyone”, says the manager.

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To become La Côte et l’Arête franchise restaurateurs, project leaders must pay an entry fee of 45,000 euros and pay a monthly fee of 5% of their turnover. By 2024, the group’s ambition is to double the number of establishments. Future establishments should all be franchises. “When we open, the franchisees are happy, the figures are good. We have a bright future ahead of us and ambition by relying on franchisees. There is no other brand with clean franchise proportions like this“, says Benoît Chambon. Beauvais, Angoulême and Issy les Moulineaux should be the next cities to see a La Côte et l’Arête restaurant land by the end of 2022 or even the beginning of 2023.

“What we ask of franchisees is to be good restaurateurs and operators. We take care of the rest. We support them in opening up with our technical department. franchisees as is often done. It is readability and total transparency”, he says.

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Partly thanks to these future localizations, The Coast and the Ridge forecasts a turnover of 23 million euros in 2022. Once its development in France has been completely mastered, the Toulouse group is not ruling out the idea of ​​exporting its concept abroad. In the past, the brand has already been approached by people wanting to duplicate the model in Asia and the United Arab Emirates in particular.

“We’re not here to open just to open. We would have a lot more restaurants if we operated like this. We turned down a lot of franchisees and locations. which were not good. We are very demanding.”

Weakened but not destroyed by the health crisis

The brothers have always owned 100% of the capital of the company they founded. Shaken financially by the health crisis like all non-essential businesses forced to close repeatedly, the family company, solid and “prudent” was able to withstand the shock. By the strength of the group, none of its establishments was on the verge of rupture or went bankrupt.

“The health crisis has deeply marked and transformed the French in general. We have had aid, but not enough to cover our losses. Being a group, aid was capped and on the twelve restaurants we had at the At the time, only seven were able to benefit from it. In 2020, we had zero help. We lost large sums of money during the months of closure. But we have a fairly solid back at the group level. As we are self-financing , we have always managed carefully, left the money in the companies and developed slowly. Moreover, our grandparents had gone bankrupt, we know what it is to lose everything and have always been marked by that”, says the entrepreneur.

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In addition to the financial aspect, this crisis has pushed a population of employees, who have sometimes experienced a seven-month break from catering, to turn away from catering. Added to this is the shortage of personnel facing the market. Today, the group, which has 250 employees in France, including between 150 and 200 in Toulouse Métropole, Albi and Montauban, has recruited around thirty people over the last month, which is not enough. Ideally, the company would need 15 to 20 more people, particularly in the kitchen.

“We are struggling to recruit, but it was already the case before. All sectors of activity have this problem. Catering is much more impacted than the others because the health crisis has gave people another rhythm of life. Giving back a taste for work to people who, for seven months, had not worked was difficult. The catering market has lost a lot of employees but it will come back. Every year we have people coming out of school and entering the market. We work with students. With a little training, anyone can do the job of catering.”

Open from Monday to Sunday at lunch and dinner time, the 100% Toulouse restaurant chain serves nearly 100,000 people per month. To continue to attract new customers and retain existing ones, the group is innovating. In summer, on two of its restaurants equipped with a rooftop, in particular in Labège and four such as Blagnac and Aucamville where terrace extensions have been made, it offers outdoor summer bars in guinguette mode to enjoy cocktails and drinks around homemade tapas / snacks, Monday to Friday, in “afterworks ou happy hour”.

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