Loiseau sees future in traditional haute cuisine

Tue Aug 3, 2010 7:29am EDT
 
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By Jeff Roberts

PARIS Aug 3 (Reuters Life) - Even its three-star Michelin badge could not protect Bernard Loiseau during the crisis that racked the French restaurant industry in 2009.

That year, the restaurants company posted a record loss of nearly half a million euros amid declining sales.

Nonetheless, Loiseau is investing heavily to maintain the quality on which its reputation depends and seek profits for a company that is not currently breaking even.

"We're talking about a three star restaurant," said CEO Dominique Loiseau. "The investments we're making are for the future".

Dominique Loiseau is unfazed by recent events and is committed to a growth strategy based on consolidating revenue and burnishing the reputation of the company's namesake restaurant in Burgundy. In any case, she has faced down much tougher situations before.

After the tragic death of her celebrity chef husband in 2003, Loiseau took over his establishment and preserved its hard won three stars. Since then, she has helped the company's two Paris-based restaurants continue to flourish and opened a new venue in Burgundy which earned a Michelin star this year.

Since her late husband took the company public in 1998, Bernard Loiseau remains the only haute cuisine institution traded on the stock exchange. Her family are majority shareholders in the enterprise whose current market cap is around 7 million euros ($9.05 million).

Two years ago, the mother of three received a Legion d'Honneur award and praise from the French President.   Continued...