London-Based CrepeAffaire Announces Plans To Enter the U.S.
While many U.S. franchise brands are eyeing overseas expansion, many non-U.S. franchises are exploring expansion into the U.S. One of those brands is CrepeAffaire, which has announced plans to open its first U.S. locations in the first half of 2019.
London-based CrepeAffaire, which calls itself Europe's leading fast casual crepe café chain, has 20 locations open with 12 more under development in four countries in Europe and the Middle East (the U.K., The Netherlands, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia), with further expansion planned in other international markets.
According to founder and CEO Daniel Spinath, the company is in early discussions to identify potential U.S. food and beverage joint venture partners for the concept's launch into the U.S. market. In a press release announcing its U.S. plans, CrepeAffaire cites three key business advantages in its hopes for success:
- First to market as a crepe chain.
Independent crepe cafes attract wide appeal among U.S. consumers, but the country has no branded chains at a national level that focus on crepes. CrepeAffaire sees an opportunity to become the leading crepe concept to fill this niche.
- Proven business track record in the fast casual segment.
Average build-out costs are under $250,000 and ROI is strong. "Recent research indicates that the best-in-class café chains are lucky to see an EBITDA of 15%, compared to CrepeAffaire locations, which consistently average over 20% EBITDA and range up to 30%," said Spinath.
- Flexibile formats that result in lower overhead and more options for site selection.
Spinath said the company learned important lessons from London's extreme real estate costs. And since the crepes are prepared on hot plates, franchisees avoid the build-out costs and space requirements of full kitchens and hood ventilation systems. Formats range from traditional cafe locations to kiosks and food trucks. In addition, products and packaging are designed to take advantage of the booming home and office take-out and delivery markets, giving franchisees an additional revenue stream.
The menu includes a variety of sweet and savory crepes, waffles, coffees and juices, as well as fully gluten-free options, and the company is now launching a comprehensive "free-from" product offering.
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