Ex-Figaro chief opens new resto chain

By Lala Rimando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Jul 18 2009 07:15 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2009 08:47 AM

Retail chain Figaro Coffee Company is up for another competition—its own founder.

Pacita Juan, who established Figaro about 2 decades ago, is supporting a former Figaro franchisee who has decided to cut ties with Figaro, which is now under new management.

Juan and her Figaro partners are currently locked in a legal battle for the rights to the trade name, “Figaro.” Juan relinquished her management post to her partners last year, though she still holds substantial shares in the company itself.

Businesswoman Lot Tan, who has about 10 Figaro franchise stores, decided to side with Juan. Tan has formally tapped Juan to source the coffee beans for Tan’s new concept store chain called Le Bistro.

Sourcing coffee beans from rural farmers all over the country—and selling the social responsibility story in Figaro’s supply chain—was key to marketing Figaro against other coffee chains in the country, Juan used to stress.

Le Bistro

In a statement to abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak, Juan said she “could not refuse Lot Tan’s invitation to open yet a new concept in the food and beverage field.”

Le Bistro’s new concept targets the middle- to high-end clients. It’s a major departure from the Figaro’s target market. Juan said Figaro is now moving down from its previous target of middle-income clients to those that burger chains also cater to.

Le Bistro’s flagship store is in Fraser Place, a high-end service residence landmark in the Makati business district. Juan said expansion plans for Le Bistro include a new store in NAIA Terminal 3, which is set to open within July or early August.

Juan said Le Bistro’s concept has been a long time dream. Beyond offering coffee, it also offers light bistro fare.

For Chit, Le Bistro has been her “dream concept”: coffee, light bistro fare, and cocktails for winding down—all in one store.

“I have found the perfect place for coffee during the day, cocktails at night and the [Inter]net or meetings in between,” Juan wrote.

The store’s interiors are in teal and grey to give a modern upscale feel. Wifi access is free. Wine and beer are available.

Lot added, “This recession has made people want a relaxing drink after work. We offer cocktails at dusk to the same people who come for coffee in the morning.”