Bruegger's Bagels
Caribou Coffee has agreed to acquire the Bruegger’s Bagels chain from Le Duff America.

DALLAS — Caribou Coffee, the second-largest company-operated premium coffeehouse in the United States, has agreed to acquire the Bruegger’s Bagels chain from Le Duff America. Caribou Coffee is part of JAB Holding Co., which over the past year also has acquired Panera Bread Co. and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1983 in Troy, N.Y., Bruegger’s operates approximately 300 restaurants in 26 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

La Madeline French Bakery and Cafe
Le Duff has nearly completed its refranchising initiative of la Madeleine French Bakery & Café.

The sale of Bruegger’s Bagels is part of a larger initiative under way at Le Duff America, which is the Dallas-based affiliate of Rennes, France-based Groupe Le Duff, a leader in the bakery-cafe segment with 35,000 employees and nearly 2,000 locations across 90 countries.

In addition to the sale of Bruegger’s, Le Duff said it has nearly completed its refranchising initiative of la Madeleine French Bakery & Café that was first announced in March, and is focusing on companywide expansion, including the U.S. launch of the global cafe brand Brioche Doree.

Brioche Doree
Le Duff plans to launch its global cafe brand Brioche Doree in the U.S.

Le Duff finalized the sale of three of the five markets it placed for refranchising to Sugar Land, Texas-based HZ LM Casual Foods. Led by Amin Dhanani, HZ LM Casual Foods acquired all 26 la Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe locations in Houston and Austin, Texas, and Louisiana. The company expects to complete the sale of a fourth market, Atlanta, in the next several weeks and is in negotiations to sell its Washington, D.C., area locations.

Le Duff America said it will continue to operate corporate la Madeleine cafes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Olivier Poirot, Le Duff
Olivier Poirot, c.e.o. of Le Duff America

“With the announced sale of Bruegger’s Bagels and the successful refranchising of la Madeleine, we are ahead of plan in our asset-light strategy to dramatically grow our company over the next decade,” said Olivier Poirot, chief executive officer of Le Duff America. “The recent transactions strongly reinforce our balance sheet and shift our mindset so we can focus on our French heritage brands, including the upcoming U.S. launch of Brioche Doree, and continued growth in North America through franchising.”

Earlier this week, Le Duff America named Julie Hauser-Blanner as its first U.S.-based president to lead the U.S. launch of Brioche Doree. Founded in 1976 by Louis Le Duff in Brest, France, Brioche Doree offers Parisian-style and urban French cuisine, with freshly baked bread and pastries and housemade sandwiches, soups and more. The company, which has a handful of small-format, franchised Brioche Doree airport locations in several U.S. states, plans to open three to six full-size corporate Brioche Doree locations in two urban markets in order to develop a U.S. brand identity. It will then launch a franchising initiative to expand the brand, following Groupe Le Duff's international model.

Julie Hauser-Blanner, Le Duff
Julie Hauser-Blanner, president of Le Duff America

Ms. Hauser-Blanner is a restaurant industry veteran with more than 20 years of operations experience. She has held multiple leadership roles at Bloomin’ Brands, including vice-president of global operations at Outback Steakhouse and regional vice-president at Bonefish Grill. She most recently led the food service business at Bass Pro Shops.

“Now is the perfect time to introduce American audiences to Brioche Doree because it offers fresh, hand-prepared, authentic food for the way people want to eat today,” Ms. Hauser-Blanner said. “My top priority is to make this iconic global brand relatable to the U.S. consumer while maintaining the highest standards of guest experience and exceptional food quality.”