The café-cum-bakery chain of the RPG-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Au Bon Pain, will go national within a year, entailing an investment of Rs. 70 crore.

Talking at the launch of the flagship store here on Monday, Chairman Sanjiv Goenka said that there would be 70-odd stores in a year, and 120 by March 2015. With Monday’s launch, Au Bon Pain has 31 stores in Bangalore and Kolkata.

To a question on how the group planned to take on competition , he said that this would be done through product differentiation by offering healthy options in fast food.

Spencer’s Retail Ltd. had tied up with Au Bon Pain, a U.S.-based fast dining and bakery café chain, to launch outlets across India, beginning with a store in Bangalore. Au Bon Pain means ‘the place of good bread’ in French.

The group signed, in 2008, a master franchisee arrangement, to be owned by a joint venture of Spencer’s and the director and promoter of Au Bon Pain, Thailand. Mr. Goenka said that there would be 18 stores in Kolkata at an investment of around Rs. 33 crores. The café here, which has come up on the now closed Music World premise, will also be open to music releases and book launches.

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