We Brits love our cakes and sweet treats, but dessert restaurants were a little known phenomenon here in the UK until about a decade ago. 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 shapes and flavors, and huge slices cake with whipped cream. So much so that some dessert franchises have now become household names, are almost as much a part of our everyday culture as the big fast food chains, and have been successful in recent years as they expand their network of locations across the UK and now internationally.
Creams is one such brand, founded in 2008 and last month announcement of the appointment of a new CEO in the form of Everett Fieldgate. Fieldgate is a well-known name in the world of food franchising. He has spent time at KFC UK and Ireland as Chief Financial Officer and more recently in Dubai overseeing franchisor and franchisee relationships with Yum!, Americana and Costa Coffee. Creams is going through a period of rapid growth, with 12 locations since the pandemic, 15 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 a Cairo-based hospitality company More Internationalthe agreement will allow Creams to roll out more than 20 new locations in Egypt over the next five years.
While the dessert industry is, of course, being hit by the pandemic in much the same way as the food and hospitality industry across the board, it may have weathered the storms of recent years surprisingly well. The nature of the product range and offerings meant that most dessert restaurants were able to move quite quickly and easily to online ordering and home delivery during periods of lockdown, and during times of stress and struggle, customers turned to sweet treats for comfort. As we move from the pandemic into financially challenging times, consumers may be more willing to spend money on a small, affordable indulgence with the feel-good factor than on a more expensive meal or takeout.
Dessert houses have also become a favorite place to hang out Generation Z, the influencer generation that lives their lives online and an incredibly valuable group of consumers. A survey conducted in 2018 by pastry chef The Hershey Company reported that 87 percent of Gen Z and millennials think about eating dessert once or more a day. Making their eateries bright, fun, and instagrammable is perhaps as important a factor in the success of the leading dessert franchises as the product itself. A quick hashtag search on Instagram shows that #dessert currently has a whopping 73.8 million posts with users showing off photos of their extravagant waffles and sundaes in a beautiful and colorful setting.
Kaspas desserts is another British dessert franchise brand that is going through a period of rapid growth. In September 2022, the company was Named sixth in BrandVue’s list of the 100 Most Loved Dining Out Brands of 2022 in the United Kingdom. Francesco Arcadio, Managing Director said: “It is a testament to our relentless focus on making every guest visit special. This stems from the continuous improvement of quality and value that our founders have always had as a vision for the brand.”
Kaspas has one overseas location to date, opening in Pakistan in 2019, and is exploring further international locations with potential master franchisees in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The Middle East is already home to many established American dessert franchise brands, thriving in a region known for its love of sweet treats and huge appetite for ice cream and other desserts. Earlier this year, Baskin-Robbins was Galadari Ice Cream Company’s master licensee opened its 1000th store in Dubai Hills Mall in the combined areas of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Jordan and Australia.
As an industry, the dessert industry is well suited to the franchise business model. A dessert shop is easy to copy and has broad appeal, both geographically and across consumer groups. The challenge now is that it threatens to become an overcrowded market, which means new entrants to the dessert franchise world need to stand out from the crowd. Already UK based vegan dessert brand slut impresses with the plant-based filled biscuit brand launching franchise opportunities in the US and already with an overseas location in Dubai and a partnership with fashion brand Maison Valentino behind it. And Scopeberb is another dessert franchise enjoying success this side of the pond with its handcrafted eggless vegetarian ice cream, which responds to current food trends and consumer demands. Going forward, the dessert brand that can identify that niche within a niche in the industry will likely have found the sweet spot for franchise success.