Louis Le Duff, the man who multiplies loaves all over the world

From a first store in Brest in 1976 to a presence in a hundred countries in 2018, Louis Le Duff has created a family empire that delivers bread and pastries on five continents. The Le Duff Group is now the world leader in the coffee and bakery sector. In figures: a turnover of €2.1 billion in 2017, nearly 2,000 restaurants and outlets worldwide (including Brioche Dorée and Del Arte), more than 35,000 employees, half under franchise. The group, not listed on the stock market, remains independent with two shareholders: the Le Duff family and the involvement of a management team.

 

Bridor, the flagship of the group

In its early days, Louis Le Duff created a fast food concept via pastry: Brioche Dorée, with the objective of opening stores in the best location of the best street. But each shop produced its own products and the quality was not constant. Then, in 1988, Louis Le Duff created Bridor, a manufacturing workshop designed to supply the “Brioche Dorée” boutiques and offer “the same recipe” and “the same quality” in all sales outlets.

Bridor has become the flagship of the group with 10 production sites, a turnover of €750 million (2017), 70% international, and a growth of 20% per year. Today, only 10% of Bridor production is for the group. Indeed, 90% of the production feeds more than 20,000 4 or 5 star hotels and artisan bakers in a hundred countries around the world, as well as airlines and cruise lines.

 

International expansion

The group has ten (Bridor) production plants, including three in North America (two in Quebec and one in Philadelphia), where it also has two chains: La Madeleine and Mimi’s café, dedicated to French cuisine.

In Europe, in 2015, it bought the Kamps chain, leader of the “café bakery” in Germany (more than 400 points of sale), where it has a new factory in which €67 million were invested and which should accommodate 600 employees.

In China, it opened a new factory in Beijing this summer (investment of €10 million, 50 employees) to support its plan to create 500 outlets in China, Korea and Japan.

According to Louis Le Duff “These last ten years have been focused on significant international expansion”. Every day, Bridor sells 3 billion pastries and 500 million loaves of bread worldwide.

 

Investments in France

The group is not forgetting France. In addition to its three French production sites (Servon sur Vilaine, Louverné – Pays de la Loire and Pont de l’Isère – Rhône-Alpes), the Le Duff group has built a state-of-the-art warehouse in Servon sur Vilaine. Operational since last March, it can store nearly 19,000 pallets on 12 levels, in a controlled atmosphere at – 18 degrees, with reduced oxygen to prevent the risk of fire. The equivalent of loading 600 trucks or 200 million pastries. Highly automated, it only requires two people for its operation. The pastry pallets, coming from the adjoining production plant, are transferred by robots. The warehouse operates 24 hours a day and absorbs the 15 million products manufactured daily in the factory.

Despite this new warehouse, the Servon and Louverné plants will be saturated in 2020. The group therefore plans to build a new plant that should see the light of day in Bretagne by 2021.

 

Gourming, an innnovative agri-food marketplace

The Le Duff Group opened in January 2017 an innovative agri-food marketplace, called Gourming. The aim is to bring producers of Bretagne food products in contact with professionals in the catering, hotel, food-relate and food distribution sectors, for export. The other way around, Gourming offers catering professionals all over the world the opportunity to obtain premium local French foodstuffs, sourced directly from selected producers.

 

Sources : Groupe Le Duff, Ouest France – 02/06/2018, L’express-L’expansion – 16/06/2018, Le Journal des Entreprises – 03/07/2018