Many of us Brits enjoy crepes as sweet or savoury treat. The very thin pancake is versatile and can be topped with everything from Nutella and banana, to the classic lemon and sugar. And if you have less of a sweet tooth, pairings such as cheese and tomato, pesto and mozzarella and even an all-day breakfast are being offered by crepe brands in the UK.
Crepes have become treats that are eaten at any time, rather than being reserved for Shrove Tuesday or, as it’s commonly known, ‘Pancake Day’. They are great to grab on the go, and for this reason they have become particularly popular in London.
Today, we look at the different routes to running your own crepe business, then we go on to explore the best crepe brands in London.
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Starting your own crepe business
Independent start-up business
If you’d like to start your own crepe franchise in the capital to fuel the tired and hungry commuters, you could do so by starting an independent business from scratch. Once you’ve developed a tasty crepe recipe and established what type of crepe restaurant you want to run, you’ll need to secure a location to sell from.
However, setting up a bricks-and-mortar business isn’t your only option. You could cut costs by choosing to run a mobile business travelling around farmers markets, festivals and other events in your area. Reduced set-up costs and lower overheads mean that you should achieve profitability more quickly. You’ll also have more flexibility and freedom than if you’re tied down to a fixed premises.
If you have your heart set on owning and operating a crepe business in London, investing in a franchise is probably your best bet. This way, you’ll still get to be your own boss, but you’ll also get help finding the perfect location for your franchise, and you’ll receive comprehensive training and support so you can get your new venture off to the best start.
Here are some of the best crepe franchise opportunities looking to expand their UK franchise network.
The best crepe brands in London
Crêpeaffaire serves freshly baked crêpes using organic flour and entirely natural ingredients. Its philosophy is to urge customers to enjoy their savoury and sweet crêpes as a healthier alternative to other desserts. Founded in 2005, Crêpeaffaire had limited competition in the early days and has since become the UK’s market leader.
Why choose Crêpeaffaire? Well, its diverse offering means that it suits a range of customers’ tastes. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savoury, or a snack or a meal, Crêpeaffaire’s got you covered. This therefore creates a widespread appeal to customers.
Health-conscious customers are forever increasing in prevalence, which means that many food franchises are diversifying their offering to offer healthier alternatives. This is a concept that is inherent in Crêpeaffaire’s business model. The franchise is keen to provide menu items that are compatible with a healthy/balanced lifestyle and uses natural ingredients.
Due to the nature of the franchise, Crêpeaffaire’s product range is easily adjustable to the tastes of local areas. Therefore, it is perfect for multi-local/international expansion.
When you become a Crêpeaffaire franchisee, you'll receive extensive training and support to help you grow your new business. The successful brand helps with site selection and design, provides a full set of operations manuals, gives you access to contacts for funding, introduces you to preferred suppliers and much more.
Crêpeaffaire ensures that its franchisees are supported in identifying prospective customers and learning how to attract these using effective marketing techniques.
And as no kitchen is needed to run this crepe franchise; the location you choose for your new business can be very flexible. This means that the franchise fee starts from as little as £16,000 plus VAT for a smaller store, making this an affordable opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. A minimum investment of £130,000 and a total investment of £200,000 is required.
Quick Crêpes is also offering franchise opportunities in London. There are around 20 Quick Crêpes stores in the UK and the Middle East serving up crêpes and other delicious desserts. The success of Quick Crêpes is as a result of the adaptable business model, which allows for optional additional income streams to be added, such as catering for private events like weddings and corporate gatherings.
But where did it all begin? Quick Crêpes has been in business since 1988 and has since served over two million of its authentic French pancakes to customers.
The ambitious brand promises franchisees that if you train with them and use their products and equipment, you will be making professional crepes in less than 60 minutes. The revolutionary crepe mix means that staff don’t have to be highly trained. Due to its simplicity and delicious taste and texture, the mix has gone on to be sold in luxury retailers like Selfridges and Harrods. There is also flexibility when finding a location, as there isn’t any need for outside extraction.
Like Crêpeaffaire, Quick Crêpes is dedicated to providing a diverse menu that provides a delicious meal option for every customer’s dietary requirements. Therefore, it offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and halal options.
The franchise fee of only £14,950 plus VAT for a five-year agreement is affordable. After this one-off payment, you’ll need to pay an ongoing fee to cover the cost of management and marketing. This is calculated as five percent of your annual turnover. The rest of any profit you make is yours. A minimum investment of £95,000 and a total investment of £135,000 is required to become Quick Crêpes franchisee.
You don’t need to have any previous experience of running a business or making crepes to become a franchisee. All that’s required is enthusiasm and ambition topped off with a friendly smile. So, if you’re passionate about providing excellent customer service, enjoy the retail environment and like good food, this could be the perfect franchise for you. For more information about the opportunity, click here.
Crème de la Crêpe
This crepe brand is currently taking London by storm. You can find the ambitious brand in Convent Garden Market, but is eager to expand with the franchise model. It will provide franchisees with everything they need to build their very own crepe business in their chosen territory. This will include initial and ongoing training, and help with marketing and creating a website.
It doesn’t ask that franchise candidates have any previous experience in the industry, as its comprehensive training programme will fill in any blanks. However, one thing it does ask is that you are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service to each and every client.
Head to its website today to learn more and register your interest.
La Petite Bretagne
This crepe restaurant makes crepes fresh to cover with the finest ingredients on the market. It serves crepes to suit every type of meal, and even offers platters with mini crepes and other delicious foods like pistachios, olives and saucisson. At the moment, there are two restaurants, one in Dalston and the other in Hammersmith.
Crepes and waffles London
If you fancy offering your customers more than just crepes, you could start your own Wafflemeister franchise. As the name suggests, the aim when the business was founded in 1999, was to introduce its famous Belgian waffles to customers around the world.
To become a Wafflemeister franchisee, you’ll be required to fund the total investment cost of between £100,000 and £150,000, depending on the size and style of your franchise. You can choose to open either a kiosk or in-line store based on your budget and ambition. When you’re up and running, you’ll also have to pay a five percent management service fee and a 1.5 percent marketing fee on a monthly basis.
In return for your investment, you’ll receive help with shop construction and fitting, recruitment and marketing. You’ll also attend a four-week comprehensive training programme so that you have all the know-how to run a successful and profitable franchise.
Alternatively, you could join the popular Cinnabon franchise, which was established in 1985. It’s famous for producing the greatest cinnamon roll on the market, and the waffles are pretty tasty too. The first store opened in Seattle, and the brand soon spread throughout shopping centres and retail spaces across the US. It has now expanded internationally and is looking for suitable franchisees to open new locations in the UK.
If you’d like to become a Cinnabon franchisee, you’ll need to make a total investment of £1,400,000. Like the Wafflemeister franchise, you can then choose to operate an in-line store or the takeaway kiosk. In return for your investment, you’ll receive high-quality training and support throughout the set-up process.
You’ll also benefit from the advice and guidance of the support team at Cinnabon, which is one of the most experienced in the baked goods industry.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©