In the 20 years since its opening, Grégoire has become a go-to spot for those hungry for fine dining-style food but craving a quick carry-out experience. Located in Berkeley, California’s foodie neighborhood coined the “Gourmet Ghetto”, it’s a concept like no other in the area. Now, after two decades of serving the local community, founder Grégoire Jacquet feels this unique crossover venture is set to disrupt the franchising industry.
“I always felt that this was just a fantastic business model,” says Jacquet. “It's a really profitable business with low food and labor costs because it's so compact. It's perfect for high-density metropolitan locations, perfect for food on the go. I see one day having a Grégoire in every major city.”
Jacquet opened Grégoire in 2002 after 1 years as a chef at several five star rated restaurants around the world, including the Ritz Carlton. Jacquet wanted a restaurant that was rooted in community and that would serve high-quality food using farm-fresh and housemade ingredients. So when he and his wife moved back to his wife’s home state of California to start their own restaurant, he built just that — a fine-fast-casual restaurant concept in which he creates gourmet sandwich and salad dishes, along with his famous potato puffs and house made french fries, and puts it all in a custom-built box for his visitors to take on the go.
“No one was doing this 20 years ago,” says Jacquet. “People just didn't understand what I was doing. Taking such fine, high-quality food and putting it into a box that was not heard of from anyone. Everyone thought it was going to fail.”
Since then, Grégoire has been increasingly profitable year after year. Even during the pandemic, Jacquet realized the resilience of the high-quality takeout industry and the growth opportunity of the “new normal” a growing dependence and desire for takeout and delivery versus on-site dining.
“During the pandemic, we kept our business and community thriving in the most unlikely of times,” adds Jacquet. “This is a business model that both customers and business owners can rely on, and I want to share it with others. Franchising is the best way to do that, I believe.”
This year, Jacquet launched Grégoire's franchise opportunity, inviting prospective franchisees to bring the brand's unique combination of fine dining and streamlined carry-out operations to the Greater Bay Area market. He hopes to grow Grégoire to 10 locations in the next two years accelerating growth and establishing a presence from Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Napa. This presents a unique ground-level opportunity for prospective franchisees in the Bay Area, as there is already a built-in customer base of residents who have relied on Grégoire to fill the fine-fast-casual niche.
Just like when he first opened Grégoire, Jacquet has a detailed plan for success for his new franchises. The franchisee/franchisor relationship at Grégoire is designed to provide everything the franchisee needs to succeed, regardless of their knowledge of franchising or food service, and Jacquet will personally be there every step of the way to set his early franchisees up to thrive.
“As a franchisor, we will be so involved with the franchisees,” he says. “We’re not giving you a book and training you for two weeks, then going away for a few months and coming back to tell you you’re doing it wrong. We’re going to be part of our franchisees’ businesses on a daily basis to make sure they have their questions answered and everything they need to be successful.”
It’s not just the food quality, concept, and franchisee support that makes Grégoire a unique franchise opportunity. It’s also the overall restaurant model. Jacquet plans to build what he calls “culinary hubs” in each market to which Grégoire expands. These hubs will serve as preparation and distribution centers for the fresh, housemade ingredients that make Jacquet’s offering stand out against the competition. Everything is made from scratch, from the mayonnaise to the dressings to the roasted meats.
As a result, the concept requires a minimal brick and mortar footprint, and staffing. Franchise location staff simply build the dishes the culinary hub has prepared. This streamlined process will make franchisees’ jobs easier, giving them the freedom to completely focus on the customer and engage with the community.
All this, along with a seasonally rotating menu featuring produce from local organic farmers that is indigenous to the area, makes for one of the most unique and compelling franchise opportunities in the market today.
“There is simply nothing like it out there,” said Jacquet. “No one is doing gourmet meals and putting it in a custom-designed to-go box for people who are on the go. From the quality of food for the price to the timeliness of the opportunity, to the franchise business model, there is nothing like it. I just can’t wait to share Grégoire with the world.”
The cost to open a Grégoire franchise ranges from $298,924 to $420,100.