Open a Leonidas Belgian Chocolate Franchise

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Open A Leonidas Chocolate Franchise

Originally posted on 12/09/2018. Updated on 28/05/2019.

In the UK, the chocolate and confectionary industry generates an annual revenue of around £4 billion. Although the market has shrunk slightly over the last few years, due to the fact that some of the worlds largest chocolate manufacturers have relocated production from the UK to the continent in order to reduce costs, the sector currently employs just shy of 20,000 people and is composed of around 400 businesses. Specialist franchises like Leonidas are in a good position, as they offer a niche but affordable product that's perceived as luxurious and indulgent.

If you have a sweet tooth, opening a chocolate franchise in the UK probably sounds like a brilliant idea. With a Leonidas Belgian chocolate business, the dream could be yours. Here, well take a look at what makes this chocolate franchise such an appetising prospect.

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Leonidas Belgian Chocolate

Leonidas specialises in producing high-quality Belgian chocolates and confectionary for customers across Europe. Although the business is famous for its praline chocolates, its product range is diverse, and includes ice cream, marshmallows, candied fruit, marzipan, spreads and hot drinks. Every Leonidas store is designed to reflect the business artisan approach to chocolate production, and its brand identity centres around a sense of luxury and indulgence.

As one of the most recognisable confectionary brands in Europe, with over 100 varieties of chocolate, Leonidas is an enticing franchise opportunity. Franchisees will benefit from the iconic Leonidas logo, which indicates the expertise and experience of the Leonidas chocolatiers, who use only premium ingredients. This ensures that franchisees benefit from selling some of the most sought-after chocolate products in the world.

Leonidas Franchise

The Leonidas brand can trace its roots back to 1882, when an adventurous young Greek named Leonidas George Kestekides entered into an apprenticeship with a US chocolatier. Three decades later, Leonidas presented his confectionary at the 1910 World Fair in Brussels, where he won an award for his chocolate. During his time in the country, he fell in love with his future wife and vowed never to leave Belgium. Three years later, he won the gold medal at the Ghent World Fair and his reputation as a world-class chocolatier was cemented.

Over the next century, the Leonidas business grew rapidly, becoming one of Belgium's most recognisable brands and spreading to other countries in Europe. In 1966, the first shop outside of Belgium was established in Lille. Then came stores in Luxembourg, Germany, Holland, Athens and London, the latter of which is located inside Harrods. Today, the franchise encompasses approximately 1,400 stores in around 50 countries.

What level of investment is required?

In order to become a Leonidas franchisee, you'll need to make a total investment of between £50,000 and £250,000. The final investment amount will depend on the location, size and type of store you're hoping to open. Large, elaborate stores in capital cities are likely to cost considerably more than smaller, regional shops.

Because Leonidas is an established brand with a proven business model and a long history, major lenders are likely to be willing to help you finance this investment. Anywhere up to 70 percent of the total amount required can be borrowed, but the remainder will have to come from your personal assets. The franchisor will help applicants put together a strong business plan to help them secure funding and provide a clear path for future growth. This support is incredibly valuable, particularly to those who have little experience of applying for finance.

What do franchisees receive in return for their investment?

Franchisees will be granted the right to trade under the Leonidas brand name and utilise its business model. They will also receive extensive support and will be guided through the process of setting up a franchise unit by an experienced franchising team. This means that, from finding the right property and fitting it out to marketing the business in preparation for its launch, the franchisor will be by your side every step of the way. The franchise also provides all franchisees with a significant amount of training, so you will be enrolled onto an introductory, one-week course before your business launch. This should cover recruitment, advertising, day-to-day business management and growth strategies.

If you're looking to build a franchise empire that consists of more than one store, Leonidas is able to offer you plenty of advice as to how to expand. In fact, the franchise is specifically looking for area developers who want to take on the responsibility of more than one franchise unit and grow the network in a large territory.

What kind of franchisee is Leonidas Belgian Chocolate looking for?

Leonidas Belgian Chocolate is looking for individuals who have worked in the retail sector or run a business. Beyond this, there are a number of characteristics that could make you a suitable candidate. For instance, Leonidas franchisees need to have strong communication skills, be able to manage a small team and have a firm grasp of basic accounting practices.

Franchisees also need to be able to demonstrate the desire to succeed, as well as the determination necessary to build a business and develop it over a number of years. Finally, franchisees must be committed to the Leonidas brand and be willing to maintain its incredibly high standards.


A Leonidas franchise is an excellent opportunity to break into the chocolate and confectionary industry with the help of one of the worlds most respected brands. It will take hard work and dedication to bring the business to an entirely new audience, but the financial and personal rewards for running this popular food franchise more than compensate for this.

Alternative Investment Opportunities

Leonidas isnt the only option if youre interested in opening up a food business with an existing franchise. Here, well take a look at some of the best franchising opportunities in the food sector.

Auntie Annes

Swap chocolates for pretzels with this world-renowned franchise. Auntie Annes tasty treats were first introduced to the world or rather, the locals of Downington, Pennsylvania in 1988, when Auntie Anne and Jonas Beiler sold pretzels and lemonade from a stall at a farmers market. Passers-by couldnt get enough and the Beilers launched their very own pretzel business in the years that followed. By 1992, there were 100 Auntie Annes stores in operation across the US. Three years later, in 1995, the first international store opened in Indonesia.

Since then, Auntie Annes American pretzels have proven immensely popular worldwide, but the brains behind the business know how to keep their customers interested. Today, the store chain sells a range of sweet and savoury dough-based snacks, including pretzel dogs hotdogs baked in pretzel dough which were brought to the table in 2004, and mini pretzel dogs, which were introduced in 2013. Auntie Annes has also expanded the business by rolling out food trucks that dish out pretzels at amusement parks. Since 2014, customers have been able to claim rewards for their loyalty through the My Pretzel Perks app.

If you would like to add to the more than 1,800 Auntie Annes outlets across 25 countries worldwide, you should be prepared to make a minimum investment of £50,000 and a total investment of up to £135,000, which includes franchise fees of £18,000. Before you open the doors to the public, you will attend a comprehensive programme of training sessions. You will also benefit from ongoing support from the franchisor, helping you to make the most of the investment opportunity and uphold the brands standards to the best of your abilities. Head to the Point Franchise website today to find out more about the business.

With Thanks

Here is a franchise with a slightly different offering. With Thanks sells snacks from self-service vending boxes in public places and offices. Consumers can purchase crisps, sweet treats and healthy, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free snacks from With Thanks boxes. Whats more, this is a business with a conscience, as it works in partnership with Bliss, which works to support babies born prematurely or with other conditions or illnesses.

There are a number of perks for entrepreneurs who opt to join With Thanks. Firstly, the business does not require regular management or contract renewal fees, and all donations to the charity partnership, Bliss, are made directly from the franchises head office, so all franchisees keep 100 percent of the snack boxes sales. Secondly, on top of initial training, franchisees receive 7,500 units of stock (enough to fill 300 boxes) and assistance with 150 box location selections and deliveries at the start of the franchising period. To open your own With Thanks franchise, youll need to make a minimum investment of £2,799. The good news is that you wont need any particular experience, as the training scheme implemented by the business will provide franchisees with all the essential knowledge they will need.

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