Premium Bakery Restaurant Le Pain Quotidien Enters the Japanese Market

March 2, 2010

ITOCHU Corporation (hereinafter “ITOCHU”) and PQ LICENSING S.A. (Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium), which develops Le Pain Quotidien premiun bakery-restaurants, have signed an exclusive store licensing agreement for Le Pain Quotidien bakery-restaurants in Japan, along with an exclusive import and sales agreement, and an exclusive production and sales agreement, for Le Pain Quotidien products in Japan.Under these agreement, Itochu will enter the premium bakery-restaurant business from 2010 as master licensee, and HOKKOKU CO., Ltd (Headquartered in Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO Yasumasa Yoshida; hereinafter “Hokkoku”) will be responsible for the bakery restaurant chain operations.

The history of Le Pain Quotidien dates back to 1990 when founding chef Alain Coumont opened his first simple and elegant organic bakery restaurant in Brussels, Belgium. Today, Le Pain Quotidien boasts a global network of 132 stores in 17 different countries. All restaurants serve breakfast and lunch, while offering takeout items, and in certain areas the restaurants also serve dinner.
Each restaurant uses quality organic ingredients whenever possible, and the chain is known for delicious breads made from original traditional recipes. The menu also includes salads, tartines, desserts, soups, soft drinks and wines, with specialty dishes that are unique to particular areas and countries and pantry items from all over the world.
At the center of every Le Pain Quotidien restaurant are long antique-style tables, where strangers can share and enjoy a meal, a style unique to Le Pain Quotidien. The communal tables are made of single pieces of recycled wood, and a tranquil and natural atmosphere serve to bring Belgian air in the comfortable space of Le Pain Quotidien restaurants.
With this entry into the Japanese market Le Pain Quotidien is taking its first step into Asia. ITOCHU and Hokkoku will leverage their partnership to operate the bakery restaurant business in the Japanese market under the same concept as all other Le Pain Quotidien restaurants around the world. The two companies plan to develop the operations through strategic marketing activities and opening freestanding restaurant as well as restaurant in commercial facilities and department stores. The companies aim to expand this business to 4 billion yen on a retail price basis with 20 restaurants after six years.

Division of roles


  1. Management of the project, and overall image control and marketing control with the aim of improving the brand value of Le Pain Quotidien
  2. Restaurant development in the domestic market, including flagship and freestanding restaurants


  1. Restaurant development in the domestic market, including flagship and freestanding restaurants
  2. Management of Le Pain Quotidien restaurants
  3. Product development for Le Pain Quotidien

Products to be handled

Baked foods, tartines (sandwiches), desserts, side dishes, wines, cafes, pantry items, general merchandise, etc.

Sales plan

By the end of 2010 or early 2011, the two companies plan to open a freestanding flagship restaurant with a floor area of approximately 165 square meters (50 tsubo) in central Tokyo. In the next six years, the number of restaurants will be increased to 20 (average floor area of approximately 99 square meters = 30 tsubo), with prospective sales of 4 billion yen on a retail price basis.  

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