HomePlacesÀ La Folie in Naperville, Illinois

À La Folie in Naperville, Illinois

(This article appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

Jerome Landrieu and Alexis Karter, Owners

Company Mission

Our mission is to provide premium quality, delicious, beautiful and consistent macarons to our customers. When we entered into business in 2019, we felt as though there was a need for this type of product in the industry. We knew there were a lot of ‘entry level’ macarons available – a lower quality and price than ours. We felt that there was room in the market for a more premium product.

Signature Product

Authentic, high quality, French macarons.

Production Tip

As we have grown, we have invested in specialty pieces of equipment to help us produce our premium macarons quickly and consistently at the volume we do. Labor costs are very expensive, and the right equipment operated by the right team of people is key. But maybe even more important than that is to constantly look at your process and review how things can be improved. For example, we had custom trays made to help us move products more quickly. Also we’ve found multiple uses for the equipment we’ve invested in, maximizing its capabilities. We have a large Firex mixer that we purchased with the intent of cooking caramel, and it does a great job of that, but taking it a step further we also use it for simple things like heating cream for a ganache. There are a lot of little pivots we’ve made, and outside-the-box thinking that has allowed us to grow with our efficiency while keeping our quality.

Equipment ‘Must-Haves’

There are a lot of pieces of equipment we use on a daily basis: our depositor, our caramel cooker, and our oven, of course. Quality equipment produces quality products. It is as simple as that.  With a startup business, you always look where you can cut costs. Equipment is not an area to try to do that. 

Secret of Success

Maintaining our quality of product is essential for us. We had someone suggest that we offer our premium macarons and then a lower quality/lower price product for other customers. We do offer competitive pricing, but a lower quality product? That is just not us; even if it means losing potential customers. We are a premium macaron wholesale production kitchen, and that will not change. Another thing that has been pivotal in achieving success thus far is continuing to evolve and make things better and better constantly. Sometimes taking a look at your core flavors and, while they’re successful currently, how to make them even better.

Future Goals

For the wholesale business we hope to introduce four new flavors into our core line (we currently have 12). We’ve begun the R&D process on those flavors, and we cannot wait to offer them to our customers once they are perfect. On a retail level, we’ve tested the waters a bit with pastry outside of macarons. We have offered pastry and viennoiserie on the weekends, and people respond really well! We sell these products as pre-order only. This way, there is no waste. We cap our sales at a certain number, and once they sell out, that’s it! We’d like to do more of that, and we’ll be investing in space and equipment to make that happen.

Visit www.alafolieco.com for more info

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