Brought to you from Brittany – La Crêperie
Talking about where to find the best crêpes – an authentic French delicacy in Hong Kong, you cannot go through the list without mentioning the name La Crêperie a few times. Brought all the way from Brittany, France, by Philippe Ricard, when it all started in 2007. This year it marks the 10th anniversary of La Crêperie’s expansion into Hong Kong, the French Chamber is happy to celebrate their anniversary and to have Philippe to tell us about his decade-long journey in Hong Kong.
Hi Philippe, congratulations on the 10th anniversary of La Crêperie in Hong Kong! To start off, could you tell us why you had the idea of opening a restaurant specializes in crêpes?
It was 13 years ago I opened the first La Crêperie in Shanghai. At that time, there was not a single restaurant that sold crêpes in Shanghai, and I knew a lot of people from Brittany who all missed having crêpes, the tastes of home. That is why we have incorporated a lighthouse on our logo and our restaurant décor, to symbolise La Crêperie as a place of comfort and safety, and for our guests to call La Crêperie their home from home.
Another idea of La Crêperie is that I wanted to create an oasis amidst the hectic city of Shanghai. I wanted to portray la Crêperie as a safe haven where you can leave all your problems the moment you enter, and indulge yourself with comforting crêpes, soothing music, and an ambiance with a French twist.
3 years after the opening of the Shanghai branch, we expanded into Hong Kong, with the same intention in mind, just like when we set out to open our first branch.
How has La Crêperie and the business environment in Hong Kong evolved over the last decade?
I have to say we are very lucky, to be loved by the people of Hong Kong and I am happy with what we have achieved so far as a team. La Crêperie has seen a lot of ups and downs during our 10 years together with Hong Kong, with new establishments opened and closed. I can say we have evolved as one with the city, and we are always looking into ways to improve our business and to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment.
Recently, we have launched our Brittany bento takeaway project, which allows people to move the whole La Crêperie experience everywhere, may it be their home or place of work. Together with the rapid emergence of delivery services, our Brittany bento has been a huge success and we have received a lot of praising from our regulars, and from new customers too. One point to add here is that as Brittany is of close proximity to the nature, we care about it a lot. La Crêperie has been putting in our utmost effort to help preserving the environment, as of now, we have gone plastic-free and all our containers are made with environmentally friendly materials.
How would you describe the experience you want to offer to your restaurant guests?
We want all our guests to enjoy the full Brittany experience. Of course, the food would contribute to a large proportion of this, but we are also talking about the whole atmosphere, as if they have all been teleported to Brittany the moment they step into La Crêperie. With this in mind, we have infused a lot of Brittany culture into our space, to recreate the atmosphere of the unique coastal French city of Brittany.
What would be your go-to dish at La Crêperie?
This is a hard one… I simply have too many favourites… and they change from time to time. At the moment, it would be La Provençale, a savoury crêpe with tomatoes, goat cheese, etc… Usually, I will put bacon in as well to give it a little boost in flavour. This is only feasible as we make everything fresh to order, not only the food will still be fresh and piping-hot when it is served, we can also accommodate to our customers’ dietary requirements to a greater extent than other restaurants.
Why should entrepreneurs like yourself should join the French Chamber in Hong Kong?
I have always had a close relationship with the French Chamber, I think I joined the Chamber 15 years or so ago when I was still in France. And since then I have always been a part of this big community.
I think it is a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs to join the French Chamber because you can benefit a lot from it. Take my own experience, I met a lot of interesting people to share insights with and very frequently we learn from one another.
I have also been very active in events organised by the French Chamber, I attended conferences, workshops, etc… and they are some very interesting ways to learn and network. At the same time, it is very rewarding when I partner with the French Chamber on events, I feel like I am contributing to the betterment of the French community.
Why is it valuable to be a member with the French Chamber during the covid-19 period?
In this strangest of time, I believe it is the support from the French Chamber that we can seek is the most valuable. I understand this must be a very difficult time for everyone, but I always have a peace of mind because I am sure of the fact that the French Chamber will always be on my side to support. Although the past few months have been unprecedentedly tough, we received support from the French Chamber on boosting my restaurant’s visibility and reaching out to the wider community of Hong Kong, which was exactly what I needed.
There is a saying that goes “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. In challenging times like this, I am certain that the French Chamber will be the friend I can always rely on.