Godiva, the world-famous chocolatier, is moving beyond chocolate and gift shops. Over the next six years, the Belgian-based company plans to capture an everyday following by opening 2,000 cafes around the world.
More than a third of the new cafes will be located in the U.S., the Associated Press reported. The first cafés opened April 17 in Manhattan and offers a menu of grab and go sandwiches, sweet treats, waffles, and a line of coffees drinks featuring the flavors of Godiva.
One of the surprising menu items is the Croiffle, a chocolate or cheese filled croissant waffle hybrid that is then pressed on a waffle iron. Other Godiva treats like chocolate covered strawberries and milkshakes will be featured on the café’s menu.
The ambitious rollout of cafes comes from former Starbucks executive Annie Young-Scrivner, who became Godiva’s CEO in 2017. Her No. 1 priority after taking the reins was to increase the company’s revenue fivefold by 2025, according to the AP.
With a strong grasp on holidays like Valentine’s Day, Godiva execs see a major opportunity in the new cafes to create an everyday relationship with consumers.
“We really have a stronghold on formal gifting but we want to expand to everyday consumption,” Young-Scrivner told The Associated Press.
In 2017, Godiva was estimated to be about a $1 billion business. According to the AP, it expects 40 percent of its total sales to come from the cafes in the next five years.
Godiva currently operates 800 stores in 105 countries. Some of those locations, which currently focus on gift boxes, chocolate-covered strawberries and a limited coffee menu, will be transformed into cafes. Other cafes will open in airports and have stand-alone storefronts outside of traditional mall locations.
As one of the largest retail chocolate companies, Young-Scrivner believes the brand’s history, which dates back to 1926, will draw in customers to the new café model.
Menu innovation has also been at the forefront of the strategy for the Godiva Cafes. Thierry Muret, executive chef chocolatier at Godiva, told the AP that it took him eight months to create the perfect blend of coffee that highlighted Godiva’s famous chocolate. The core menu will be consistent across locations, but will bring in regional influences to reflect the tastes of the country where it opens.