Maison Kayser may bid New York adieu

French chain calls report that it might have baked last baguette in New York “speculative and inaccurate”

New York /
Jul.July 31, 2020 08:03 PM
Maison Kayser (Photo via <a href="http://toolsofmen.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tools of Men</a> via Flickr)

Maison Kayser (Photo via Tools of Men via Flickr)

UPDATED Aug. 3, 2020: Maison Kayser’s last tweet, dated June 15, says the French bakery chain is “woven into the fabric of diverse communities around the world.”

But the threads have come loose in New York City, where its 16 locations have been closed since March. And now the business may be unwinding its presence here, Commercial Observer reported.

One of its landlords, in talks with the chain about getting out of its space, told the publication that Maison Kayser plans to exit all of its leases in the New York market — 15 in Manhattan and one in Downtown Brooklyn.

But in a statement, the company called the report “speculative and inaccurate.”

“While we cannot predict the progress of Covid-19, we are still moving forward and hope to reopen in September,” the statement said. “At the same time, we must also prepare for every contingency. This includes exploring a range of options that reflect our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our people and customers, as well as the financial wellbeing of our business.”

The chain’s problems may have predated the coronavirus: Eater reported last August that it was closing its two Washington, D.C., locations after just 17 months — shorter than a congressional term. Before opening those, all of its U.S. outlets were in New York City, where the company has laid off 696 workers, including 59 at its Bronx commissary and 10 at its Park Avenue corporate office. Maison Kayser has more than 100 locations in 20 countries.

The company’s website features an August 2012 New York Times article headlined, “Maison Kayser, a Global Baker, Touches Down in New York.” The piece noted that “a global chain of artisanal bakeries sounds like an oxymoron,” but that’s what Eric Kayser had created since opening his first one in 1996 in Paris. Croissants at the first Manhattan location, on Third Avenue and East 74th Street, cost $2.50. Now they are $4.10. Or were, at least. [CO] — Erik Engquist


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