The founders of La Concorde Bakery, Rena and Michael Anousakis, left Greece in 1958 to start a new life in South Africa. They arrived in the country with nothing, except for the many years of experience that they had acquired working as bakers and confectioners. They soon found work at a restaurant, but set their minds to one day opening their own bakery. They had a simple vision for their future business: To introduce traditional, homemade, and authentic Mediterranean flavours to the South African bakery experience. At the time this style of food was not prevalent in Johannesburg bakeries, which fuelled their desire to share the unforgettable tastes that they grew up with.
In 1968, they were finally able to open their own restaurant with a bakery element. They named the business “La Concorde,” after the Place de la Concorde in Paris – where the world’s finest baked goods and confectionary could be found. Situated in the old Johannesburg CBD, La Concorde had an authentically European menu, store design and ambiance. It made a name for itself as the only restaurant offering traditional European and Jewish cuisine and baked goods.
In the 1970’s Rena and Michael decided to focus exclusively on their bakery, and so removed the restaurant component from the business. At this time there was a growing demand from wholesale customers requesting baked goods delivered to their premises. Unable to keep up with the large volume of wholesale orders, it was time for La Concorde to expand.
And so, during the 1970’s and 1980’s Rena and Michael’s sons opened new La Concorde bakeries in Emmerentia, Bramley, Westgate, the East Rand Mall, Kilarney and Norwood. They kept with the traditional La Concorde heritage, but now also had the operational capacity to service the ever-growing demand from wholesale customers.
This business model remained successful until the 1990’s, when it became apparent that shifting customer preferences had transformed the demand for bakery products. It was clear that the future of baking was no longer in retail stores, but rather in wholesale. They decided to take advantage of this market opportunity by leveraging La Concorde’s existing wholesale capabilities. And so, in 2000, the decision was made to focus exclusively on wholesale. All retail stores were closed, and La Concorde was consolidated into one large wholesale factory, based in Linbro Business Park. The business now had capacity to service the wholesale needs of the entire Gauteng region, making it a market leader in the industry.
In 2005 the third generation of the family took over the management of La Concorde Bakery, and currently remain in this position. In 2017 La Concorde Bakery acquired a second factory, also based in Linbro Business Park, allowing it further opportunity to expand and to focus more extensively on mass production.