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The appetite without limit of Olivier Bertrand

In twenty years, this unassuming entrepreneur has built an empire in the restoration. It became inescapable. June 28, 2017, the Pied de cochon, a famous parisi

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The appetite without limit of Olivier Bertrand

In twenty years, this unassuming entrepreneur has built an empire in the restoration. It became inescapable.

June 28, 2017, the Pied de cochon, a famous parisian brasserie of les Halles, was celebrating its 70 years in the company of many guest conductors and Olivier Bertrand, and the discreet owner of that address remained in its juice, Belle Epoque. A jewel among others in the midst of an empire which does not cease extending: from the pubs to The Bureau, Café Leffe, the sandwicheries Bert's, up to the king of burgers -Burger King - and the Group Flo, which was acquired in April last.

With this latest acquisition, the very discreet Olivier Bertrand has put the hand on several parisian brasseries historical, such as la Coupole, Bofinger, le Boeuf sur le toit, but especially on strings, Hippopotamus, Maître Kanter, Bistro romain... Is a set of 270 institutions weighing in 2016 a turnover of 246,8 million euros.

Olivier Bertrand, a follower of the big-shots

This is not a first for the group, Bertrand, established in 1997 by Olivier Bertrand, an adept of the acquisitions spectacular. This Auvergnat self-taught, began his career on the field: team member in a fast food restaurant, clerk in a bank... It has long sought its own way before buying his first restaurant, the Boot of Italy, in 1991. The case is short, but the contractor discovered a passion for the restoration.

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While rocking in 1994 with the creation of the Chesterfield Café, restaurant concept with happy hours and concerts. The foundations of the empire Bertrand are asked. In 2002, he bought the brasserie Lipp, and then, in 2005, the tea room Angelina, that it is going to develop, especially abroad. Following, in 2010, the pubs in The Bureau, Irish Corner, in 2016 the 13 breweries of the White brothers (the Procope, le Grand Café Capucines, la Fermette Marboeuf...).

The previous year, he was offered the teach Quick, sale by the investment fund Qualium, a subsidiary of the Caisse des dépôts. The result of this appetite devouring, the group Bertrand has today a turnover of 1.8 billion euros, some 900 restaurants, which are operated in clean or franchise, and 30000 employees!

A thirst for conquest that Oliver Bertrand has, until now well controlled. During the takeover of the groupe Flo, it is not positioned on the brand Tablapizza, acquired by the group Le Duff (Del Arte, Brioche dorée, le Fournil de Pierre...). Not quite profitable, too parisian, too small? "It was probably not part of its perimeter, the pizza was not consistent with all of the other activities," said Antoine Barreau, general manager "retail" at The Duff, who, to him, jumped on the opportunity when he learned of the sale of 32 restaurants Tablapizza.

trademarks with strong potential preferred

The group Bertrand has and the sort, chooses its champions, and focuses on brands with strong potential. "We have three priorities: to support the transformation of the Quick in Burger King, develop the sign in The Office and re-energise the network Hippopotamus", thus announces Cédric Lacout, business development manager brands.

The mode of operation of the group is well established. He bought signs in loss of speed for better boost. The group Flo. According to several experts, Olivier Bertrand would only have been interested in this for the chain Hippopotamus and its 200 facilities. "He felt the potential for the revitalisation of the brand. The restaurants have been good performances in the 1980s, but their results have fallen in recent years. It is a sleeping beauty just wake up," says Cédric Lacout.

the Same strategy during the recovery Quick, 2015: sign (fast-food highly in debt (600 million euros) was hurt, and the restaurants was slow. But Olivier Bertrand saw an unhoped-for opportunity. Holder of the "master franchise" (exploitation) of Burger King in France since 2013, he immediately displayed his goal to redeem the 400 restaurants that are Quick to turn into Burger King. With a clear idea: to make the shadow at Mcdonalds in redeploying its rival american in France (Burger King left france in 1997, due to lack of profitability).

the group putting on the franchise

As for Burger King, for The Office, or, probably, for Hippopotamus (the development plan will be known at the end of the year), the group putting on the franchise to develop quickly and mesh the territory. "This is a win-win. We share the investment of the openings with the franchisee*, which, for its part, takes advantage of our know-how and our reputation," explains Cédric Lacout.

The share of franchised restaurants will go crescendo, going from 50% to 80% at Burger King; for the sign in The Office, they will represent 15 of the 20 openings planned in 2018. To attract candidates, the group deploys large means. The investment is very heavy (for example, € 1 million on average to open an Office), a fund of internal investment has been created.

"We lend money to some of our future franchisees to help them financially. In the past few months, we also offer a system of lease management that is less expensive for the franchisees, because they are tenants of the business", explains the director of development. With such weapons, the empire Bertrand hopes to convince by 2020 one hundred new franchisees to join its ranks all brands combined.

Quick: a transformation plan unrealistic?

At Burger King, it is necessary to not only manage the new openings (thirty per year), but also to accompany the franchisees Quick in the transformation of their restaurant. "79 points of sale have already been converted. There remain about 300 to switch," says Jerome Tafani, vice-president and general manager of Burger King France & Quick.

The former head of Mcdonald's Europe, recruited at the end of 2015 to make the conversion Quick, remains serene in spite of the magnitude of the task. "To reach our goal of 600 Burger King in 2020, we will achieve 70 to 100 changes of sign per year," he continued.

The main interest seems to follow. Except in the case of retirement or duplicate locations, more than two-thirds of the franchisees Quick have agreed to go under teaches Burger King. "They have welcomed the takeover as a new breath. The trade mark Quick was exhausted over the years and had lost its attractiveness. The prospect of a better future was a catalyst for the accession of the franchisees to the project," says Jerome Tafani.

Mode of operation of the group: purchase signs loss of speed, such as Hippopotamus, or Quick, re-launched under the flag of Burger King.


to help finance the transformation of their restaurant (jobs, interior construction, playground, track, drive...), the group supports 50% of the overall cost, which reaches on average 1.4 million euros. It is also responsible for training employees and franchisees Quick methods Burger King in assembly of sandwiches, taking orders, pos and service.

"The group I was with, evidenced by Emmanuel Baglione, franchisee of two Quick, which is passed to the colors of the Burger King at the end of 2016. It co-finances, it is form, it follows the progress of the work... today, my goals have been achieved. I'm happy with."

It can be. The group promises its franchisees with an average revenue of 3.5 million euros per year by Burger King, and a return on investment in five years. Some observers consider this transformation plan Quick in Burger King unrealistic. "A lot of franchisees Quick are on the verge of collapse. How are they going to be able to invest 700,000 euros to spend under the flag of Burger King? The mutation will be long, there will be dead," warns an industry professional, on condition of anonymity. Bird of ill omen?

One thing is certain in any case: since his return to France, under the control of the group, Bertrand, Burger King, met a great success. At each new opening, aficionados of the brand rush to taste the Whopper, the iconic sandwich of the sign. Has to want to grow very quickly, the group does not risk-does it not indigestion?

A policy of diversification deliberately

It is now present on all segments of the restoration (at the table, take away, theme...), but not only. He also owns two luxury hotels in Paris and a network of beverage distribution for the CHR (cafés, hotels, restaurants). "This diversification allows you to avoid air holes, ensures Cédric Lacout. We don't want to put all of our eggs in the same basket, this policy is quite deliberate." And especially driving with an iron hand, or even sometimes to reduce the sail.

The trademarks or signs not deemed to be strategic are, in effect, put under the ban. Thus, Café Leffe, Bert's and Charlie's Birdy (american cuisine), who do not know of openings additional. Their development is currently frozen.

The group will have the capital necessary to revive such a large number of signs? Olivier Bertrand is the sole shareholder of this empire. Will he, in the coming months, to manage and integrate the franchisees Hippopotamus, which, for some, have gone on strike, following the announcement of the redemption, in July in Paris. But, above all, the brands traditional of the group, will they thrive in a sluggish market?

"The restaurant at the table stalled for several years, and its turnover fell by 2.5% in 2016," warns Bernard Boutboul, founder of the firm Gira Conseil. The issue: the decrease of the number of restaurants, due to the threat of terrorism and the crisis, which obliges the French to cut back on their budget for leisure. That does not seem for the moment to cut the appetite of the new king of the restaurants.

* A franchisee pays an entry fee and various fees to operate a brand.


Restore theme

The Artisan of the nose, At the Office, Bistro Romain, Café Leffe, Charlie Birdy, Hippopotamus, Maitre Kanter


Angelina's (tea salon)

fast food

Bert's, Burger King, Quick

Read our complete file

A pub Burger King pleases the King of belgium Groupe Flo (Hippopotamus) is sold to the Group Bertrand (Burger King France) VIDEO. Advertising Burger King's "pirate" Google Home and Wikipedia

Brasseries in paris

Lipp, Au Pied de Cochon, Le Procope, La Fermette Marbeuf, Alsace, The train Station, The Island, The South, The Grand Café Capucines...

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