Dessert franchises on the rise

We Brits love our cakes and sweets, but until a decade ago, dessert restaurants were a little-known phenomenon here in the UK. Fast-forward to now and you’d be hard-pressed to find a British high street that isn’t home to a dessert house, serving everything from hot waffles and pancakes to giant sundaes, ice creams of all varieties and flavors, and huge slabs of cake with cream So much so that some dessert franchises have now become household names, almost as much a part of our everyday culture as large fast food chains, enjoying success in recent years as they expand their network of locations across the globe. UK and now also internationally.

Creams is one such brand, founded in 2008 and last month announced the appointment of a new CEO in the form of Everett Fieldgate. Fieldgate is a household name in the world of food franchising, having spent time at KFC UK & Ireland as CFO and most recently in Dubai overseeing franchisor and franchisee relationships with Yum!, Americana and Costa Coffee. . Creams is in a period of rapid growth, having opened 12 sites since the pandemic, with 15 more in the pipeline, and with plans to further expand its franchise network, both nationally and internationally. Late last year, it signed its first international franchise partner with Cairo-based hospitality company Mori International, and the deal will see Creams roll out more than twenty new locations in Egypt over the next five years.

The dessert industry, while naturally affected by the pandemic in the same way as the food and hospitality sectors across the board, has perhaps weathered the storms of recent years surprisingly well. The nature of their product range and offering meant that most dessert restaurants were able to transition quite quickly and easily to online ordering and home delivery during lockdown periods, and in times of stress and struggle, customers turned to sweets to feel comfortable. As we move from the pandemic to the financially challenging times ahead, consumers may be more willing to spend on a small affordable indulgence with the feel-good factor than a meal out or takeout delivery.

Dessert houses have also become a favorite hangout spot for Gen Z, the generation of influencers who live their lives online, and an incredibly valuable group of consumers. A 2018 survey by The Hershey Company bakery reported that 87% of Generation Z and Millennials think about eating dessert one or more times a day. Making your dine-in restaurants bright, fun, and Instagrammable is perhaps as important a factor in the success of major dessert franchises as the product itself. A quick hashtag search on Instagram shows that #The dessert currently has a massive 73.8 million posts with users showcasing photos of their wacky waffles and sundaes in a beautiful and colorful setting.

Kaspas Desserts is another UK dessert franchise brand enjoying a period of rapid growth. In September 2022, the company was ranked sixth on BrandVue’s list of the 100 most loved brands to eat out of 2022 in the UK. Francesco Arcadio, Managing Director, said: “It is a testament to our relentless focus on making each guest’s visit special. This comes from the continuous improvement in quality and value that our founders have always had as a vision for the brand.”

Kaspas has one overseas location to date, having opened in Pakistan in 2019 and is exploring more international locations with potential master franchisees in the Middle East and South East Asia. The Middle East is already home to many well-established American dessert franchise brands, enjoying success in a region known for its love of sweet treats and its hearty appetite for ice cream and other desserts. Earlier this year, Baskin-Robbins’ master licensee, Galadari Ice Cream Company, opened its 1,000th store in Dubai Hills Mall in its combined territories of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Jordan and Australia.

As a sector, the dessert industry is well suited to the franchise business model. A dessert shop is easily replicated and has wide appeal, both geographically and among consumer groups. The challenge now is that it risks becoming a crowded market, which means new entrants to the world of dessert franchising will need to stand out from the crowd. UK-based vegan dessert brand Floozie is making its mark with plant-based filled biscuit brand launching franchise opportunities in the US and already has an overseas location in Dubai and a partnership with fashion label Maison Valentino to his credit. And Scoopberb is another dessert franchise enjoying success on this side of the pond with its artisan egg-free vegetarian ice cream, tapping into current food trends and consumer demands. In the future, the dessert brand that can identify that niche within a niche in the industry is likely to have found the sweet spot for franchise success.

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