La Madeleine announced a multiunit agreement that continues to build momentum for its strategic franchising initiative.

This agreement comes as another indication of la Madeleine’s strength and desire to elevate its footprint in select U.S. markets with seasoned restaurant owner/operator groups. The Dallas-based restaurant company, which has a collection of more than 70 bakery cafés, has completed the deal with the Chi Development Company, an established multiunit, multibrand franchise development group based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“The deal represents a significant step in la Madeleine’s franchise development strategy,” says David Gonzalez, vice president of franchise development for la Madeleine. “La Madeleine has the ability to fully immerse itself into the fabric of many of America’s most attractive communities, and we are thrilled to introduce our unique and beloved brand to new markets throughout this attractive region.”

Jacob Chi, a seasoned restaurateur and hotelier, is the principal developer with Chi Development. Since the launch of la Madeleine’s franchising initiative two years ago, Chi has been watching the brand closely, and recently began the process of developing a plan to expand the concept into key Arkansas and Southwest Missouri markets.

“It’s clear that la Madeleine guests absolutely love the food and atmosphere … and this affinity is the motivation behind our development deal. From the get-go, we’ve been impressed with the loyalty the bakery café’s command from their guests,” says Chi, whose family owns several Starwood hotels in the region. La Madeleine attracts a wide variety of consumers from all backgrounds and demographics. It has extraordinary appeal, and there is not another fast casual eatery that comes close to offering the same experience in Arkansas.”

Part of la Madeleine’s appeal is its consistent guest traffic throughout the day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he adds.

“I have seen what it takes for a bakery café concept to be a game changer and rise above the competition. La Madeleine is now part of a rarefied group in fast casual franchising,” Gonzalez says. “This agreement provides a fantastic springboard for us to continue expanding from our core into key markets, such as Arkansas.”

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Fast Casual, Growth, News, La Madeleine