When we launched in Kuwait, I think we prepared ourselves extremely well for that move
However, whether they hail from Britain or abroad, there are key ingredients aspiring franchisees must possess to become part of Crêpeaffaire’s network. “When we look at franchisees, one of the criteria we look for [is] experience in retail,” says Spinath. He notes that a good feel for the location and property opportunities is also key, as well as them being a people person. “But the most important factor is really attitude and passion,” the franchisor reveals. “An individual franchisee who comes from a different industry needs to understand and be ready to face the reality of food retail, which is very unpredictable, very detail-orientated.” This attitude enabled Crêpeaffaire to easily make a success of its first venture abroad – into Kuwait – in 2015. “It’s fair to say we’d been focusing on the Middle East because there’s
a great propensity by the Middle Eastern consumer base to consume our type of products,” says Spinath, highlighting how significant the infrastructure there is. From Kuwait, the franchise entered the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, none of which were too dissimilar from the UK sites. “What was initially different is we had to look into what consumer behaviour is in those foreign countries,” he notes. That meant reviewing what was transferrable from the UK to Kuwait, how things can be exported and how vastly products and palates need to be taken into consideration. “Why I’m saying it wasn’t that different is because right from the beginning we set up a very intense training programme for these franchisees to come over to the UK to learn how we do things but also to really create a bond to understand how we need to adjust the brand and products to local territories,” he continues. “When we launched in Kuwait, I think we prepared ourselves extremely well for that move.” With 2019 on the way, Crêpeaffaire is cooking up even more goodies for the future as the franchise looks to set sail for the US. However, this will be done with a company-owned model first in order to solidify the firm’s position, just as it did in the UK before franchising. “It’s a very strong market economically,” says Spinath explaining the attraction to America. “Casual dining is a lot more difficult right now but once you have success in the US, it’s fairly easy to scale quite quickly. That’s the culture of the American society – once you get something which works, it’s a fairly businessfriendly environment.” Emphasising the ambitions for conquering the States with his crepe concept, Spinath says: “If you look at the coffee market pre-Starbucks, there weren’t any big branded systematic coffee chains in the US but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a big coffee market in the US,” he says. “Sometimes you just need to run for it and show what can be done.” That, coupled with a master franchisee agreement secured with TRG Concessions, a division of The Restaurant Group, which will see Crêpeaffaire sites opened up in airports across the UK, makes it seem evident the food franchise looks clear for take-off.
52 elitefranchise | DECEMBER 2018