By Maëlle Alquezar
You probably have one very specific product in your country that you would like to find when travelling or moving to another country. Or you might have created your own company selling a national specialty and you would like to expand your network abroad. In any case, you probably wonder how such a company can export its concept in a country with a different culture. Doing so is not that simple and requires plenty of research concerning the targeted country’s customs and cultural norms.
Take the example of the French bakery PAUL. You might not know this company yet but you probably will very soon. PAUL is a famous French bakery chain created in 1889. In the 1990’s, the company decided to export its chain of shops to the United Kingdom, and more specifically in London. Today, there are more than 40 PAUL bakeries in the English capital and the company is planning to expand its network to Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
What was the successful recipe of the company to export its national products in England?
PAUL Bakeries have been preparing their export strategy for years. At first, the French bakery didn’t really attract the British customers who were not used to buying fresh baguettes every day. Indeed at this time the products were exactly the same as in France and the style of management was inappropriate. Their first attempt failed (they sold only eighteen baguettes per day for months) and the shop had to return to the other side of the English Channel.
However, the company didn’t give up and realised that they had to adapt the concept according to English customs and management style. They finally created a wider range of products matching the British expectations from bacon and crayfish sandwiches to more salads and soups since a lot of Londoners are vegetarian. Hot drinks have also been introduced to the menu as they are very popular.
The PAUL’s Bakery example is not an isolated case. Nowadays, several national products are being introduced to foreign markets such as Scotch whisky which now represents a quarter of UK food and drink exports. Just bear in mind that a local product can be exported but the culture and customs must always be taken into account.
It seems that many capital cities are becoming international hubs, embracing food from other countries. After all Paris seems to have fallen in love with Marks and Spencer’s sandwiches and biscuits.
Have you tried any PAUL treats?
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