Mr. Puffs veut devenir «le McDonald's des beignets»

Mr. Puffs wants to become 'the McDonald's of donuts'

Feb 25, 2024Bofu Agence Marketing

Still little known in Quebec, the Mr. Puffs chain nevertheless aims to conquer the planet with its donuts of Greek origin. For its first step abroad, the brand from Laval chose to establish itself in a huge shopping center in Orlando, Florida.

If all goes as planned, America's first Mr. Puffs will open next summer at the Florida Mall. With its 250 businesses, the place welcomes 20 million people per year... In a city that attracts more than 70 million tourists annually. It is these impressive figures that attracted the founder and president of the SME spherical pastries, Billy Siounis, to Orlando. The name of the owner of the Florida Mall - Simon Property Group - also weighed in the balance. “Our goal is not only to have restaurants in Florida, but throughout the United States,” he confides. Simon is a large real estate owner. With good relationships comes good business. » Billy Siounis is convinced that his concept “can go global”. He also says he received “2,000 requests for franchises”, or five per day, coming from as far away as India, China, Greece, Australia and Morocco. “I’m proud of that!” », says the man who inaugurated his second branch only two years ago. “My goal is to have a concept like McDonald's, but with donuts. [...] One day, we will say to ourselves that it started in Montreal and that there are 1000 branches around the world. »

Double in size in one year To justify his haste to establish himself south of the border, when he only has 11 branches in Quebec and... none elsewhere in the country, the 40-year-old entrepreneur says that "it's important to be the first to enter a market.

After Orlando, Mr. Puffs plans to tackle the Ottawa and Toronto markets (in 2020). But until then, many projects are in the works in Quebec. Between 8 and 12 new branches will open their doors this year, notably in LaSalle, Saint-Eustache, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Saint-Jérôme, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Gatineau and Quebec, lists Billy Siounis. This will have the effect of doubling the size of the company founded in 2004, but which only became established in 2010. Initially, loukoumades (the real name for donuts) were sold using street trucks in festivals.

Vegan dessert served for millennia To expand, Mr. Puffs is banking on recruiting franchisees. The first Florida branch will, however, be co-owned by the company and a franchisee of Montreal origin who lives there.

Billy Siounis can also count on the support of Tom Bountis, owner of the Allô! lunch restaurant chain. mon coco, which has around forty franchised establishments. “I’m proud he chose me.” Since 2009 he has been investing in my concept. » Before founding his business, Billy Siounis was a waiter. In the restaurant business since he was 14, he is the 7th of 11 children, “all born here and raised in Parc-Extension,” he says. Her mother obviously cooked loukoumades for them during special events. Unlike American donuts, these pastries “which date from Greek antiquity” contain neither milk nor eggs, which makes them “lighter”. Mr. Puffs is also banking on the fact that its donuts are vegan. “It was my favorite dessert. For me, it's nostalgic. »

Little Quebec success south of the border

Until now, very few chains have tried their luck south of the border, apart from the giant MTY, which has mainly proceeded through acquisitions. Moreover, the Quebec Franchise Council (CQF) and the Quebec Restaurateurs Association (ARQ) struggle to name a single other Quebec chain that has a presence in the United States. The two organizations recall the failed attempt of St-Hubert in Florida. Mikes also tried his luck in Las Vegas. More recently, La Belle et La Boeuf opened a branch in a shopping center near West Palm Beach, Florida. “Independents represent 80% of the restaurant market in Quebec. So there aren't a lot of expansion plans in the United States [from chains]. » - François Meunier, spokesperson for the Quebec Restaurateurs Association “It’s not for lack of interest,” adds Christian Champagne, president and CEO of the CQF. But you have to have strong backs. » Consultant Robert Dion, a specialist in the restaurant industry, understands that Florida is a dream destination for restaurateurs. But he recalls that “the problems of recruiting staff and quality of staff are the same as here”. Furthermore, given the distance, quality control is not always easy. Informed of Mr. Puffs' intentions, Mr. Dion believes that his English name is an asset, and that his loukoumades fit well “into the current trend of specialization of concepts”.

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