MOVENPICK MARCHE FORMAT PICKS MANHATTAN FOR U.S. MOVE

NEW YORK -- Richtree, the Toronto-based North American licensee of market/restaurant format Movenpick Marche, is making its move into the United States.Its latest strategy, to take over a 38,000-square-foot space in the World Trade Center here, is just one of a series of U.S. market entrances expected from the company by 2000.The company also intends to open Movenpick Marche and Marchellino units

NEW YORK -- Richtree, the Toronto-based North American licensee of market/restaurant format Movenpick Marche, is making its move into the United States.

Its latest strategy, to take over a 38,000-square-foot space in the World Trade Center here, is just one of a series of U.S. market entrances expected from the company by 2000.

The company also intends to open Movenpick Marche and Marchellino units in Boston in the first half of 1998 and is expected to announce a site for its first Chicago location soon, according to a source close to the company.

As U.S. and Canadian licensee for the Swiss-based Movenpick brand, Richtree earlier this year had said it intended to open restaurants in five major North American markets by the end of 2000.

Richtree officials did not return calls seeking further comment.

Richtree is expected to open both a Movenpick Marche and the less formal, fast-food concept, Marchellino, in the lower Manhattan office building.

Richtree officials, who signed the deal in mid-December with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said in an announcement that they expect to spend $10 million to renovate the now-empty space, and hope to open the Marche -- with seating for 700 customers -- in late 1998.

The company is in the midst of significant expansions. Richtree already operates the European-style scatter-site food court in a downtown mega-office building and other locations in the Toronto area. It will open soon in Montreal, and recently increased the number of meal-store Take-me! Marches it operates, both as stand-alones and stores-within-stores in Loblaws units in Ontario.

Last fall, Richtree officials said that entering into the U.S. meals market by developing a supermarket partner for their Take Me! Marche concept hinged on establishing in the United States the same fresh reputation the company enjoys in Canada.

"We need to establish our name and reputation as purveyors of interesting fresh food first," said Colin West, vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer of Richtree, at the time.

"We believe the large flagship Marche experience is the best way to become known and identified. It would be inappropriate to crack into that [Take-me! Marche] market as a first step."