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Le Pain Quotidien Plots Comeback With Plans to Expand Into 10 Former Maison Kayser Locations

NYC-based hospitality group Aurify Brands bought both struggling chains out of bankruptcy earlier this year

The exterior of the bakery Le Pain Quotidien with the letters seen in black PL Gould/Shutterstock

A little over a month after French bakery chain Maison Kayser agreed to sell off its 16 locations in NYC, there are already plans for several of its bakery spaces across the city.

Fast-casual restaurant Le Pain Quotidien — which was purchased by NYC-based hospitality group Aurify after filing for bankruptcy in May — is plotting a massive citywide expansion for 2021. As part of the comeback, LPQ will open 10 additional locations across the city, all in spaces formerly occupied by Maison Kayser.

It’s not clear at this time which locations of Maison Kayser will be repurposed as Le Pain Quotidien restaurants, or whether the other six locations have plans to reopen. Eater has reached out to Aurify Brands for more information.

Both Le Pain Quotidien and Maison Kayser filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and the United States operations of both companies were acquired by Aurify, which also owns fast-casual restaurant chains the Little Beet, Melt Shop, Fields Good Chicken, as well as the NYC outposts of Five Guys.

Aurify has plans to eventually reopen at least 50 Le Pain Quotidien locations across the U.S., not including the 10 new restaurants in NYC.

In June, Le Pain Quotidien sold all 98 of its U.S. locations to Aurify for a paltry $3 million. The office lunch chain had been struggling for years due to competition from restaurants like Pret a Manger and Dig, but those issues were only made worse with the onset of the pandemic. LPQ temporarily closed all of its U.S. locations after the pandemic hit in March, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy roughly two months later in May, a move it had planned even before the pandemic, court filings show.

Maison Kayser followed shortly after. In June, rumors started swirling that the French bakery chain was at-risk of permanently closing all 16 of its NYC locations. The chain had apparently been trying to downsize before the pandemic following a failed national expansion push, but the citywide shutdown earlier this year set those plans in stone. Maison Kayser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, and Aurify purchased substantially all of the company’s United States assets this week for an undisclosed amount.

The Le Pain Quotidien expansion comes at a time when restaurants continue to close in record numbers. Since the start of the pandemic, more than a 1,000 NYC restaurants have permanently closed due to the downturn in business, but even so, national quick-service food chains like Taco Bell and Krispy Kreme have moved forward with ambitious plans to grow their presences in the five boroughs.

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