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Taking its name from the French for ‘the daily bread’, Le Pain Quotidien was founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1990. Having grown increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of bread on offer in the city, young chef Alain Coumont began baking his own. Made with just three ingredients – water, flour and salt – his organic sourdough soon gained a reputation in Brussels and beyond.
Le Pain Quotidien’s first bakery at 16 rue Dansaert in Brussels is still in operation. With money tight, Coumont furnished his first location with second-hand cabinets and a large central table made of reclaimed wood from the floors of Belgian trains, purchased from a local flea market. He did not know it then, but this long, wooden communal table would become a centrepiece for Le Pain Quotidien cafes worldwide.
By 1997, Le Pain Quotidien had branched outside Europe with its first outlet in the USA, opening in Madison Avenue, New York City. Over the course of the next decade, Coumont was reported to receive tens of emails every day from investors wanting to secure a franchise of the business.
Thanks to its impeccable baked goods and its growing franchise model, Le Pain Quotidien now has over 210 bakeries in 21 countries, including Argentina, the Netherlands, the UK, France, India, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Hong Kong, Japan and the UAE.
While high-quality, freshly baked bread remains its flagship offering, Le Pain Quotidien has expanded its menu over the years to include pastries, soups, salads, eggs, yoghurts, organics teas and coffees and a range of vegan and vegetarian options.