Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh Owners Buy Stake in Pascal Rigo’s La Boulangerie Chain
Deal unites four industry leaders in ‘dream team’ with major ambitions.
July 23, 2018 // Franchising.com // SAN FRANCISCO - Nobody would ever accuse Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh CEO James Park of aiming low.
Park today announced that he and Michael Staenberg, co-owners of Denver-based Garbanzo, have made a substantial investment and acquired an equity interest in the popular café bakery brand La Boulangerie de San Francisco, founded by acclaimed French baker Pascal Rigo. The eight-unit chain - known as much for its authentic French atmosphere as its mouthwatering, scratch-made pastries, breads and sandwiches - has been a neighborhood staple in the Bay Area since 1995.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Originally known as the Pine Street bakery, and later as La Boulange, Rigo famously sold the company to Starbucks in July 2012. The coffee giant shut down the chain three years later, only to be reopened again by Rigo under its present name.
The deal brings together four talented and seasoned individuals, each with complementary skills and backgrounds:
- Michael Staenberg - St. Louis-based real estate pioneer, philanthropist and owner of three other thriving restaurant brands (Lion’s Choice, Granite City Food & Brewery and The Shack)
- James Park - Restaurant growth expert; CEO of Garbanzo
- Pascal Rigo - World-famous baker; founder of La Boulangerie
- Nicolas Bernadi - CEO of La Boulangerie
“Pascal is not only the most extraordinary French baker this side of the Atlantic, he is a tremendous restaurateur who has carved out a distinctive niche on the global culinary scene,” said James Park, CEO of Garbanzo. “Nicolas and I have been working on this deal for months, and I could not be more excited about the possibilities it presents for all of us. Pascal and Nicolas aren’t going anywhere … they will continue to be an integral part of our ‘dream team’ as we move forward with our plans for the future.”
Bernadi will continue in his current role at the helm of La Boulangerie.
The team will initially focus on expanding the Garbanzo and La Boulangerie brands into new and existing geographic markets. In addition, they will be developing and proving-out internally generated concepts to address gaps in the dining landscape while exploring attractive acquisition opportunities.
“Today’s announcement is just the first step in an incredible journey that we are embarking on together,” said Rigo. “And that is great news for fans of fresh, high-quality and approachable French and Mediterranean cuisine.”
Garbanzo is making fresh Mediterranean cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Its authentic, nutrient-rich dishes derived from Old World recipes are served with a new twist, but without compromise. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking, from juicy, high-quality meats and salads made from scratch to gyros, wraps and pita baked from scratch all day. Garbanzo is dedicated to satisfying every palate - including vegetarian and gluten-free diners - and believes that “simple tastes better.”
Garbanzo is headquartered in Colorado with 28 locations nationwide, including its newest restaurant opening on the campus of Notre Dame University in August. For more information, visit eatgarbanzo.com.
Garbanzo: Feel The Love In Every Pita. Feel Brighter On The Inside.
Vice President Of Public Relations