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Saturday, November 19, 2005


Last month we went to Los Angeles for a few days to visit Sarah. On Sunday morning in Santa Monica, with a beautiful sun-filled sky, Herman and I went for breakfast at “Le Pain Quotidien”. This bakery is a piece of Belgian territory. The shop is exactly like the one you find in Brussels, on the Place du Sablon, or in Waterloo, on the Chaussée de Charleroi or in Wavre downtown.

I understand now for the first time the feeling that an American could have going to a Starbucks when abroad. You get that feeling of being in a small piece of home territory away from home.

Le Pain Quotidien has the same smell of butter and bread, taste of coffee and chocolate paste, colors on the walls and floors, sound of classic music and crunchy touch of the best croissant that you could find here. All five senses go in perfect unison.

I know. You are going to tell me I sound like a commercial but I think this company has really found a way to differentiate the essence of very simple items into units of excellence and made it reproducible across the world.

It is what marketers call the ultimate customer experience. And they got it.

If you go to Le Pain Quotidien in Belgium you just feel that you are in a good place to eat. When you go to Le Pain Quotidien in LA and you are Belgian then you are not in a shop, you are literally back home in Belgium.


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