Godiva to open 2000 cafes worldwide

Godiva store in Hong Kong.

Belgian chocolate-maker Godiva will open more than 2000 cafes over the next six years as part of a broader plan to grow the business fivefold.

The expansion strategy will see the 90-year-old confectioner offer a menu of sweet and savoury food and specialty beverages, including a newly developed signature item known as the “Croiffle” – a croissant pressed in a waffle iron with a variety of fillings, such as three cheese or egg and bacon – and mochas and affogatos.

This marks a shift from Godiva’s existing cafe concept, which operates in Japan, China, Belgium and the Middle East, and provides a launching pad for the brand to move beyond its iconic gold boxes of chocolate into new product categories, the company said in a statement.

Becoming a part of the customer’s daily life

Godiva CEO Annie Young-Scrivner, who joined the company in 2017 from Starbucks, said this is a pivotal time for the company, and that the cafe concept aligns with the ever-changing consumer behaviour.

“We look forward to becoming a part of our consumer’s daily life – whether it be breakfast, a midday snack or a sweet afternoon treat and creating a destination that they want to visit in order to treat themselves beyond the usual holiday or special occasion.”

Godiva debuted the new cafe concept in New York City last week, where the first location opened at 560 Lexington Avenue. Ten more cafes are slated to open in New York by the end of 2019, according to the company, which is privately owned by Turkish Yildiz Holding AS, with 2000 locations planned globally. Over 400 of these are planned for the Americas.

ANZ operations changing hands

It is unclear whether the concept will be rolled out in Australia and New Zealand. In February, Godiva announced it had entered into an agreement to sell retail and distribution operations in Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, along with the production facility supplying these regions located in Brussels, Belgium, to MBK Partners, a private equity firm based in South Korea.

The agreement, which has been approved by both parties and their boards of directors, includes more than 300 retail stores in Japan, South Korea and Australia, travel retail in Japan and South Korea and e-commerce and packaged goods sales.

At the time, Godiva said the sale would allow it to focus on higher growth markets as part of its plan to grow the business fivefold by 2025. The transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2019, subject to the customary closing conditions. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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