Belgian waffle specialist Wafflemeister plans to double its UK sites in 2015 and reach £5m in revenue by year-end.
Currently holding 11 sites and hitting £3m revenue at the end of 2014, founder Alex Troullier is about to sign for a kiosk site in East London with an opening date of June. He is also looking for a larger site in north London and for sites in Reading.
Beyond its company-owned stores, of which there are currently seven, Troullier is seeking franchisees, with franchises in Eastbourne and Leeds opening soon and discussions for a further three ongoing. The first should open in September, and Leeds could become a multiple site deal.
He has also “just signed” for five sites each in Bahrain and Qatar over the next three years, which will be within malls, possibly airports and other high footfall locations. The first of these should be open within three months. Troullier’s business partners in the countries are a government fund and a private equity business.
There are already three franchises in Abu Dhabi and the franchise partner is looking to open in Dubai. “There are offers on our table,” Troullier told British Baker. “We are speaking to other countries – some Saudi companies, some Kuwaitees and there are some discussions in the US.”
Another focus for Troullier is the new Wafflemeister Academy launching in April at its flagship Kingston site in south-west London, which opened in November last year. All employees – 60, excluding franchises – will go through training at this location to improve the training system, motivation and to give employees a better chance for career progression.
“The UK sites are going very well and I’m pleased with like-for-like sales. We’re in very positive territory with average spend increasing by 20p to around the £5 mark. We are able to keep costs of sales consistent, so margin is strong and as we become bigger we are getting better deals from suppliers.”
Meanwhile, online ordering, soft-launched towards the end of 2014, has tripled sales since launch and remains a focus.
Wafflemeister has seven company-owned sites in London, three franchises in Abu Dhabi and one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.