This may not strictly be a Virtual Restaurant story but who doesn't love chocolate!
According to the Associated Press, Godiva the Belgium confectioner is rolling out 2,000 cafes over the next six years worldwide, with one-third of those in the U.S.
The cafes mark Godiva’s foray into prepared meals. The first one officially opens in Manhattan this week and is part of an ambitious growth plan to increase revenue 500% by 2025.
Although the privately held company doesn’t report sales or profits, estimates suggest it is a $1 billion plus business. The company expects 40% of its total sales to come from the cafes in the next five years.
Currently, Godiva operates about 800 stores in 105 countries. But the fare is limited to such items as boxed chocolates, chocolate-covered strawberries and ice cream. Drip coffee is available in some Godiva stores. The news stores that will serve a complete menu of items like the croiffle, a croissant and waffle hybrid that’s stuffed with fillings like cheese or chocolate and pressed on a waffle iron. Other items include an expanded list of coffees and a new collection of teas as well as grab-and-go items like sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.
Some of the traditional stores will be converted into cafes, but Godiva is looking beyond malls and will also have stand-alone storefronts and airport locations.
Thierry Muret, executive chef chocolatier at Godiva, says he’s been testing food and drinks for the new menu for a year. He said it took eight months to get the right blend of coffee that would have the right undertones of chocolate, for example.
Each of the cafes will have the core menu but will be tailored to the international region’s tastes. Muret is also trying to balance consumer demands for freshly prepared food that doesn’t take too long to make.
Do we really need another sandwich or coffer place? Probably not. On the other hand, you can never have too much chocolate!