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Rouwens Van Coppenaal, inventor of the chain restaurant

When chain restaurants appeared in Paris in the Sixties, they were following an American model whose original would arrive in earnest with McDonald’s in the Seventies. But neither Americans nor the French themselves recalled that the underlying idea had first been invented in… France.
At that point, one could still dine at Chartier’s, which had been one of a series of bouillons run by the Chartier brothers. But it was then known by that name alone; only more recently has it again been called the Bouillon Chartier, even as another old bouillon has been restored and is now known as the Bouillon Racine. Both are lovely spaces, with a turn of the century elegance which belies their original role as cheap quick places to eat. Just as Ray Kroc would later promote “Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value” at McDonald’s, the first bouillons offered cheap, good meals in a clean, neat space, with efficient service, offered by locations all around Paris.

However, it was not the Chartier brother…

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