When Rosalie Guillem departed her beloved hometown in France more than two decades ago to pursue the American Dream, she realized she would not be able to cope with her children and grandchildren living more than 7,000 miles away. An entire ocean separated her from loved ones who remained in France, so she came up with a business plan for an authentic French pastry shop that would help bring her daughter, Audrey, and her family to the states.

“I could not bear the thought of my family being so far away and missing out on watching my grandchildren grow up,” Guillem said. “We started the business so we could be together as a family. And even though we were immigrants, we were determined to bring a slice of French culture to the states.

What started out as a solution to reunite her family eventually turned into a burgeoning franchise. Currently with more than 70 locations throughout the country, Le Macaron French Pastries is the #1 Macaron franchise in the U.S. The mother-daughter duo co-founded the business in 2009 with one shop in Sarasota, Florida. It wasn’t long until Rosalie’s son, Gregory, also left France to join the family venture and opened two shops in the Orlando area. Although franchising was never the original plan, Rosalie was bombarded with calls and questions from people wanting to know how they could invest in the cheerful, upbeat Parisian-style café with delicious macarons that kept loyal customers coming back for more. The family decided to begin franchising in 2012.

“From the beginning, we wanted to be authentic and treat our customers to a taste of Paris,” Rosalie explained. “We collaborated with French pastry chefs in France before we started the business, and to this day we are the only macaron business with products that are prepared daily by French-trained chefs. At our confectionary in Sarasota, we prepare thousands of macarons daily. This process makes it very easy for our franchisees to be successful and make sure they are getting freshly prepared macarons and pastries at their locations.”

A visit to any of the Le Macaron locations stretching coast-to-coast from Florida to California can be described as a colorful “Barbie-esque” experience. Several locations have vibrant pink and pastel décor with elegant settees and chic café seating while other franchisees incorporate local design flair to take advantage of “Instagrammable” moments. 

“We see a lot of guests and families who are vacationing or locals who are celebrating special outings or occasions,” Rosalie said. “Our goal is for guests to slow down and live in the moment by enjoying the simple pleasures, such as sharing macarons or a coffee together. We do our best to stay relevant and adapt the brand to popular flavor trends such as Salted Caramel, Bubble Gum, Birthday Cake, Red Velvet, and seasonal flavors. Our gift boxes with assorted macarons are very popular, and we also have a thriving catering and corporate gifting business year-around.

In addition to macarons in more than 20 decadent flavors, the full menu features pastries such as the ever-popular Napoleans, gelato, coffee, gourmet chocolates, cakes, éclairs, European style beverages and more. Macarons are also available in seasonal flavors to commemorate holidays and special occasions. The family’s formula for success has translated to franchisees who have also flourished, with some becoming multi-unit owners. 

“Le Macaron was the perfect business opportunity for us,” said Bobbi Jo Blanton, who owns two stores along with her 

husband, William, in Grand Rapids and Traverse City, Michigan. “It’s extremely rewarding to bring the taste of authentic macarons to these communities,” Blanton said. “And this is why we’re scouting the area so we can open a third location.”

Gregory Guillem, who concentrates on the brand’s franchise development, said Le Macaron is experiencing steady expansion as new franchisees scramble to open new shops, kiosks in malls, or food trucks.

“We are thrilled with our accelerated growth, and we are fortunate to have inquiries from interested franchisees all over the country,” he said. “At our current pace, we are on track to have up to 20 new locations within the next year.”

Le Macaron openings scheduled for 2023 include Columbus, Ohio, Tucson, Arizona, Long Beach, California, Sacramento, California, Pembroke Pines, Florida, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, New York, and Miami. New owners Natalia Mejia and Camito Beltran are preparing to open their store at RIO Lakefront in Gaithersburg, Maryland, while owners Sanjam and Karam Chawla will soon open a mobile kiosk at International Plaza in Tampa. All the new franchisees are banking on the fact that interest in delicious, bite-sized macarons is trending throughout the country. Industry experts estimate sales of macarons will top $1.54 billion this year and more than double to $3.17 billion by 2033.

Over the years, Le Macaron has won numerous awards, including ranking on the Inc. 5000 and in the Top 100 Food and Beverage companies by Entrepreneur. Le Macaron was also named to the FranServe 2022 Fran-Tastic 500 list, which recognizes the top franchises in the country. Despite the awards, growth, and franchising success, at its heart, Rosalie maintains that Le Macaron is still a family business.

“A family business always has its challenges, such as setting boundaries for work-life balance,” she explained. “Franchising expanded our responsibilities so much that at first it was tempting to talk about work all the time. However, we realized we had to set some boundaries and made a simple rule that family time is important and there will be no work discussions! We celebrate the good times, and when there are challenges, we know we are not alone. But overall, our favorite part of working together is that we trust and rely on each other. And this same trust and support extends to our wonderful franchisees who know they can rely on us to run a thriving business that will bring joy to their families.”