La Madeleine Franchise Costs, Fees & Owner Salary (2023)









May 2, 2024


La Madeleine

a franchise?

La Madeleine

La Madeleine, a beloved French bakery and café chain, was founded in February 1983 by Patrick Esquerré in Dallas, Texas. Drawing inspiration from his Loire Valley roots and with encouragement from retail magnate Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus, Esquerré established the first La Madeleine location near Southern Methodist University. The eatery initially focused on French bakery items and gradually expanded its menu to include a wide array of French cuisine, becoming a neighborhood gathering spot.

The concept behind La Madeleine was to create an authentic French experience, reminiscent of the cozy cafes found across France. The restaurants are known for their distinctive ambiance, featuring impressionist paintings and a warm fireplace, offering a variety of French dishes served in a casual, cafeteria-style setting. Over the years, the menu has evolved to include a range of offerings from salads and sandwiches to hearty entrees and soups, maintaining a commitment to authentic French flavors.

La Madeleine experienced rapid growth and expansion, tapping into various urban markets across the United States. By the mid-1990s, the chain had extended beyond Texas to cities like New Orleans and further into markets such as Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. The expansion was not just in terms of new locations but also in the variety of the menu, with La Madeleine introducing new dishes regularly to keep the offerings fresh and engaging for customers.

In 2001, La Madeleine was acquired by Groupe Le Duff, a French restaurant chain company, marking a new chapter in its history. Despite changes in ownership and management, La Madeleine has remained true to its founding principles, providing an authentic French dining experience that emphasizes quality, community, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

How many

La Madeleine


are there?

In 2022, there were
outlets in
the United
States, of which
are franchises, and
are corporate-owned.

What are the

La Madeleine



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($40,000)

The initial franchise fee for a La Madeleine franchise is $40,000. This fee compensates La Madeleine for the rights granted to the franchisee. The Initial Franchise Fee is deemed fully earned upon receipt by the franchisor and is non-refundable.

Royalty Fee (5%)

Franchisees are required to pay a royalty fee equal to five percent (5%) of the Gross Sales of the Café on a weekly basis. The royalty fee is nonrefundable and must be paid weekly via a mandatory direct debit program established with the franchisee's bank.

Advertising Fee (4.0%)

During the Agreement Term, franchisees have a weekly advertising obligation (WAO) in an amount not to exceed 4.0% of their Gross Sales. This advertising obligation can be allocated among contributions to the Brand Marketing Fund, expenditures for Local Store Marketing, and contributions to a Cooperative.

The Brand Marketing Fund contribution is currently set at a rate of up to 3.0% of Gross Sales, with an initial contribution of 2.0% of Gross Sales. La Madeleine has the discretion to increase this percentage by up to 0.25% per calendar year, but not to exceed 3.0% of Gross Sales.

Note: The fees presented here can be found in the Item 5 of the Franchise Disclosure Document. For a complete list of all the fees borne by the franchisee, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.

How much does

it cost

to start a

La Madeleine


It costs between
to start a
La Madeleine

For those interested in franchising with La Madeleine, there are two primary options available. The first is the "Bakery Café" Prototype, which requires an estimated initial investment ranging from $1,042,858 to $3,053,595. This model encompasses various costs, including an initial franchise fee of $40,000, design and permitting fees, and more.

On the other hand, the "Express Café" Prototype offers a different scale of operation, with the initial investment estimated between $369,677 to $754,822. This model includes an initial franchise fee that ranges from $20,000 to $40,000, among other associated costs.

Detailed breakdown for the initial investment for La Madeleine "Bakery Café" Prototype can be found in the table below:

Type of Expenditure Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $40,000
Design, Permitting Fees & Liquor License $60,000 to $189,945
Building and Leasehold Improvements $448,631 to $1,489,805
Security Camera System $0 to $10,000
Signage and Awnings $25,000 to $63,207
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment $355,883 to $438,418
Technology Suite $37,784 to $126,860
Initial Technology Administrative Fee $2,860
Site Work $0 to $300,000
Start-up Inventory & Supplies $31,700 to $51,500
Grand Opening Advertising $10,000 to $30,000
Insurance $3,000 to $25,000
Training & Managers' Salary $5,000 to $51,000
Utility Deposits/Licenses $3,000 to $5,000
Legal and Accounting $5,000 to $30,000
Additional Funds – 3 months $15,000 to $200,000
Total (excluding real estate) $1,042,858 to $3,053,595

Note: The table above provides a snapshot of the main costs associated with starting the most common franchise format (as disclosed in the Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document). For a complete overview of all the expenses involved with the various formats offered by the franchisor, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.


La Madeleine



to its


La Madeleine

Stepping into the world of La Madeleine offers a chance to be part of a brand that brings the charm of French cuisine to the table. Their commitment to franchisee success is evident in their detailed training and support structure. Here's what they offer:

Training Program: La Madeleine has a comprehensive training program designed to ensure franchisees are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate their cafe.

Who Needs to Attend: The franchisee's designated General Manager and up to three other management personnel are required to complete La Madeleine's management training program.

Training Content: The program covers essential topics for running the cafe, including sales techniques, product orientation, accounting procedures, food preparation, and operations management.

Location and Duration: Training is conducted at designated La Madeleine locations. The duration is approximately 3–4 days, encompassing discussions on the system, techniques, procedures, methods of operation, ordering, accounting, support procedures, and instructions on quality standards.

Training Expenses: While La Madeleine provides the initial training program for the franchisee's designated General Manager and three other management personnel, franchisees are responsible for personal travel, accommodation, and other costs while attending training.


La Madeleine




Franchisees do not receive an exclusive territory. They are granted a geographical area known as the "Protected Territory". Within this Protected Territory, La Madeleine commits not to establish or grant a new franchise for the operation of a La Madeleine Restaurant.

However, deliveries of goods, even if done by a third-party delivery service, to a customer located within the franchisee's Protected Territory from a La Madeleine Restaurant situated outside of the Protected Territory are not considered a violation of the franchisee's territorial rights.

Franchisees may face competition from other franchisees, from outlets that La Madeleine owns, or from other channels of distribution or competitive brands controlled by La Madeleine.

Can a

La Madeleine


be run as

a passive


The La Madeleine franchise model is designed with a clear emphasis on maintaining its brand standards and reputation. While there's an allure to the idea of a passive investment, La Madeleine's approach requires more hands-on involvement.

If you're thinking of investing, you'll need to appoint a "Lead Operator" who is approved by the franchisor. This individual is crucial in ensuring the franchise operates in line with the brand's values.

So, can the franchise be run as a purely passive investment? Not exactly. While you can delegate daily operations to an acting manager, active oversight is essential.

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