Controversy – A KFC could soon be installed in the Place de la République in Limoges… and not everyone is happy

Un KFC pourrait bientôt s

From the 1970s to the 2000s, the Place de la République was the mecca of luxury in Limoges.. You can buy Chanel bags, English cashmeres, handmade shoes, creations by Paul Smith, Sonia Rykiel or Castelbajac.

The announcement of the opening of a KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] number 1 fried chicken instead of cafe République has given the chills. There already existed, within a broader perimeter, the historic Quick or the most recent O’Tacos… An inflation of “junk food”.

“It pulls us down, It’s a shame. However, we were promised that there would be no fast food in the area. thunders a local merchant who prefers anonymity.

Place de la Rép’ associated with an image of junk food?

What the neighbors and merchants interviewed fear is that the neighborhood will be associated with an image of junk food. As a consequence, the arrival of a new, more popular and younger clientele and a flood of Deliveroo and Uber drivers who, parked under the windows of local residents, can sometimes cause a nuisance.

” Same if nothing has been finalized to date, we are looking to open in Limoges city center and Place de la République is one of our privileged options. It is true, and it must be underlined, that since its renovation this square has regained a commercial dynamism that attracts many brands”, underlines Loïc Médard, project leader. “I think the revitalization of city centers should also be done through the big brands,” he says, declining to comment further.

“Better than a bank or an insurance company”

“We merchants still tend to complain,” acknowledges the head of Pomme Cannelle, Guillaume Gorceix. The arrival of KFC is not extraordinary for the place of the Rep, that’s for sure, but it is better than a bank or an insurance company. I prefer to concentrate on myself and continue with what I am doing. For my business personally, maybe this is a positive. But you have to be honest who apart from them can settle here?? At Café République, the previous owners did not last more than 2 or 3 years… Only chains that are financially solid can set up shop. The rents are so expensive. Added to this are taxes, rising prices of raw materials, etc. »

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Will the image of the Place de la République be degraded, compared to that of the “upper city”, affluent, even bourgeois, in the area of ​​the central halls? “We didn’t do a high-end place, that’s for sure. We did a huge skate park, ironically the boss of Pomme Canelle, so it shouldn’t surprise us. »

Take the opposite… The Nachos brand, which is also installed in the Place de la République, is well positioned in the fast food category. But she doesn’t want to be equated with junk food in any way. “They deliver the products that make up our meals to us every day, we make everything homemade with fresh products. Nothing is fried”, says Denis Monzat, one of the managers. “Guacamole, we do it every day by mashing avocados. We are all former athletes and the healthy side was very important to us. I trained, worked out for five weeks eating there every day and lost 8lbs?! »

In any case, the hypothesis of a KFC in the République cafe is giving a lot to talk about. Raymonde, a local who has lived there for 14 years, won’t be ordering nuggets any time soon. “It was no longer terrible to eat in the square, there will be something. “Five years ago, there was nothing on the Place de la République, it was the desert”

The few young people interviewed in the middle of the week, present in front of Monoprix, did not seem to be eagerly awaiting the arrival of KFC. “I don’t normally go there. For me, the Quick was enough,” explained Claire, a 17-year-old high school student at Renoir.

An opinion that is not necessarily representative, the brand wanting to establish itself in the center of the city to respond precisely… to a request from customers.

The word to the mayor… The mayor of Limoges Émile Roger Lombertie agreed to answer us about the establishment of a KFC.

The likely arrival of the KFC sign at the Place de la République is drawing criticism from shopkeepers and residents alike, get it? “This possibility has been discussed within the municipal team. Vincent Léonie was totally against it. Basically, I am opposed, as is Catherine Maugein-Sicard. Others were less opposed. But one point is important to me: did we have the legal means to prevent it? Nope. “

Was a preference not possible? “A business day [déclaration d’intention d’aliéner] makes it possible to replace the project leader. But you have to pay for the amortization of the fund, in this case, 380,000 euros. You have to pay the rent and the real estate tax, which is 100,000 euros more. All employee contracts amount to 400,000 euros per year. I asked the deputies who opposed the arrival of KFC if they wanted to launch an DIA. They told me no. I bowed to this decision. And I respect the law. As for the substance, I am unfavorable but in terms of law, I accept it if it happens. However, I have two requirements. »

What are these requirements? “I wanted KFC to partner with a Limoges brand that offers quality food that young people like. The terrace will only be assigned to this local brand. We will also make sure that the exterior aesthetics are pleasing, such as Mac Donald’s in Les Casseaux which, in my opinion, has been very well renovated, very well crafted and does not visually pollute the entrance to the city.

You are sensitive to the health of citizens. Is that why you oppose KFC? “I am concerned about the health of our fellow citizens and am opposed to anything called junk food. Everyone dreams of a starred restaurant in a square like this, but since restaurants have replaced the old cinema (called Omnia’s Editor’s Note), none of them lasted long. And it was inconceivable to leave the Place de la République with a closed establishment.

Neighbors fear noise pollution caused by delivery men on bicycles and scooters… “It’s another general problem in Limoges, not just related to KFC. We are going to organize ourselves because we no longer want a concentration of delivery men that disturb the tranquility of the neighbors. We need a more fluid system. For this, we will take a decree, it is planned. »

Stephanie Barrat and Franck Lagier

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