The former corner of 378 Wukang Lu is for rent. It used to be known as Farine. The rumors have been fast and furious since the bakery chain was shut down by the authorities two weeks ago, with everyone from stubborn customs agents to former business partners coming under suspicion. Farine put out a press release stating that they're "working with authorities to resolve this matter" but it seems the matter is being resolved for them: Their shops have been boarded up and their signage taken down. What is to become of them?
At the extreme end of the speculation is the idea that not only will Farine not be coming back, but that all of Franck Pecol’s businesses are now vulnerable. See: the “temporary” closure of Rachel's, Grains, and Far West. The sudden flight of Pecol, who is presumably the legal representative of some or all of these businesses but has since left the country, did not help.
What actually happened with the 2,300 bags of “expired” flour and the 300,000rmb whistleblower will probably never be known. And in cases like these, there is never an official “closure” notice. So, what will it look like if the small F&B group that Pecol built is indeed at-risk? Well, probably a lot like the quiet signs that started to emerge today.
The first is the quiet spreading of the word among industry people that the former Farine location is back up for rent, this time with a few restrictions on the kitchen. The second is the removal of Franck’s name from the tenant directory at Ferguson Lane – the popular restaurant now just “...Bistrot” and its younger sibling “Le Petit...“. Finally, most damning, word that the staff of Rachel’s have already left for other jobs, supposedly at the suggestion of the GM.
For Farine, and the rest of the businesses associated with Pecol, it’s starting to look like the beginning of the end for a thriving F&B business that took years to build and only a few weeks to dismantle.