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Benjamin DEVOS

CEO & Founder

Comptoirs de France Bakery’
Class of 2002

Genève, Switzerland Return

A Vatel Bordeaux graduate in 2002,  Benjamin Devos moved to China in 2005 and embarked on a success story with ‘Comptoirs de France Bakery’. We had a chat with the young French entrepreneur who conquered the Middle Empire with his French art de vivre.

Tell us about your path

I got the chance to travel often to France, Switzerland, New-York, London. I was also fortunate to study in renowned hotel management schools such as Vatel Bordeaux, Cornell University or École hôtelière de Lausanne. While completing my studies in Switzerland, I carried out a 6-month internship in a restaurant in China, this is when I realized that there was a shortage of French Bakeries. And I had noticed that this type of commerce works anywhere in the world. Emboldened by my extensive training in management, I decided to set on this beautiful adventure.

What advice would you give a Vatel student who is keen on opening a business in China?

First, I would be happy to answer any of their requests by e-mail. I can also share some quick feedback and I hope it might be of benefit to them. Here is my advice to them:

  1. Fully self-finance their project in China, there are no bank loans nor financial assistance to help them set up a business. 
  2. Pay great attention to their accounts, this was a primary observation of mine.
  3. Know how to adjust, read & understand a statement of account. It’s vital.      

Finally, how would you describe the management scene in China?

I don’t have the same relationship with my employees as with my managers:

-    With my employees, I have a very vertical relationship. Hierarchy is very present in the relationships between managers and employees. I don’t see them often and I need to remind them very often of their chores.

-    With my managers, I have to share everything. They want to be informed of the smallest details. They’re the ones who decide what instructions I should give to my employees. 

‘Comptoirs de France Bakery’ participated in the festivities organized by the French Embassy on the occasion of the 14th of July. A nice recognition.

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