Open a Leonidas Belgian Chocolate Franchise

12/09/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Open A Leonidas Chocolate Franchise

If you enjoy a cheeky sweet, opening a chocolate franchise in the UK may sound like the best idea ever. With a Leonidas Belgian chocolate business, it may just be. Here, we take a look at what makes this chocolate franchise such an appetising prospect.

Franchise background

The Leonidas Belgian chocolate brand can trace its roots back to 1882 and an adventurous young Greek named Leonidas George Kestekides. Having emigrated to the US and entered into an apprenticeship with a chocolatier, Leonidas presented his confectionary at the 1910 World Fair in Brussels. There, he won an award for his chocolate, fell in love with his future wife, and vowed never to leave Belgium again. 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 the iconic Harrods store in London. Today, the franchise encompasses approximately 1,4000 stores in around 50 countries and the Leonidas brand is synonymous with exceptional quality.

Industry context

In the UK, the chocolate and confectionary industry generates an annual revenue of around £4 billion. Though the market has shrunk slightly over the last few years, this is due to the fact that some of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world 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, such as Leonidas, occupy a much healthier position in the industry, as they offer a niche product that's perceived as luxurious and indulgent but are still relatively affordable.

Leonidas Belgian Chocolate basics

Leonidas specialises in producing high-quality Belgian chocolates and confectionary for customers across the UK and Europe. Though the business is probably most famous for its praline chocolates, its product range is large and diverse, including ice cream, marshmallows, candied fruit, marzipan, spreads, and hot drinks. Every Leonidas store is designed to reflect the artisan approach the business takes to chocolate production, and much of the brand image depends on their ability to communicate a sense of luxury and indulgence.

With over 100 varieties of chocolate and one of the most recognisable brands in Europe, Leonidas Belgian Chocolate makes an enticing franchise opportunity. Utilising only premium ingredients, Leonidas chocolatiers are renowned for their skill and expertise, ensuring franchisees benefit from selling some of the most sought-after chocolate products in the world. The iconic Leonidas logo is a mark of quality and its value to franchisees cannot be underestimated.

What level of investment is required?

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

Due to the fact that Leonidas is an established brand with a proven business model and a long history, many major lenders will be willing to help you finance this investment. Anywhere up to 70% of the total amount required can be borrowed, though the remainder will have to come from the franchisee's personal assets. The franchisor will help applicants put together a strong business plan that should help them secure funding and will provide a clear path for future growth. This assistance is incredibly valuable, particularly to those who have little experience of applying for finance.

What do franchisees receive in return for their investment?

In return for your investment, franchisees will be granted the right to trade under the Leonidas name and utilise its brand and trademarks. Franchisees will receive a great deal of support and assistance and will be guided through the process of setting up your own franchise unit by an experienced franchisor team. From finding the right property to fitting out the shop and marketing your 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 and enrol you on an introductory one-week course before opening.

The franchisor team provides new franchises in the UK a great deal of ongoing support and guidance. This includes assistance with recruitment, advertising, day to day business management, and growth strategy. If you're looking to build a franchise empire consisting 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 over a larger geographic area.

What kind of franchisee is Leonidas Belgian Chocolate looking for?

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

Franchisees will also need to demonstrate a desire and drive to succeed, as well as the determination necessary to build a business and slowly grow it over a number of years. Finally, franchisees must be committed to the Leonidas brand and be willing to maintain it's incredibly high standards.

Conclusion

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

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