Standing on the steps of the Madeleine church in the 8th arrondissement, looking down Rue Royale, you can see the Place de la Concorde. Where Rue Royale meets Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore, across the street from Gucci, you’ll see the mint green awnings of maison Ladurée, home to the macaron (pronounced mah-kuh-ron)—meringue like cookies, the color of Easter eggs, sandwiched with an emulsified filling.
Groupe Holder is the private baking—not banking—conglomerate owned, founded and controlled by 77-year-old Francis Holder. The company is comprised of Ladurée’s 85 shops in 50 countries, the artisanal bakery-café chain Paul with 740 stores in 43 countries, and an industrial arm known as Chateau Blanc. “Long obsessed with America’s industrial food processes, Holder embraces smooth mass production, and that has propelled his rise,” explains Chloe Sorvino in “The Artisanal Industrialist,” her piece in Forbes: The World’s Billionaires. “But he balances affordability and speed with a distinctly French attitude about the best ingredients and product quality—still using fresh yellow butter in mass-produced loaves and pastries.”
Holder is responsible for France’s top three macaron sellers. The first two logically being Ladurée and Paul. The third may surprise you: McDonalds. McCafe macarons are not only popular in France, but also in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Japan. “Some were surprised about McDonald’s being third,” Holder says. “We said, ‘That’s obvious. We are the one who delivers them.’ Because McDonald’s is really loyal, this baker has factories throughout the world.”
Read the entire piece in Forbes, here.