Godiva’s cafes are ‘taking off ’

Dünya Executive - - BUSINESS - KERIM ULKER

Godiva, the world-famous premium chocolate brand owned by Yildiz Holding, aimed for the sky in the number of cafes it has been opening globally. Godiva, which opened the first of its new café concepts in New York, will serve in the 7 largest airports in the world. The brand will reach 2,000 branches in 6 years all over the world. Yildiz Holding Chairman Murat Ulker said the first branch in New York is encouragin­g as it brings the Americans together.

It is quite difficult to sustain or grow a brand as much as purchasing it. In 2008, India’s industrial giant, Tata, bought Land Rover and Jaguar for $2.5 billion and received a standing ovation for it. However, the subsequent financial reports showed that the two companies did not fit well together. Many companies in Turkey have also started chasing global brands over the last 10 years. From shoes to ready-to-wear, construc

tion to furniture, “century-old” brands have joined the structure of Turkish companies. Yildiz Holding was the first to launch this buying frenzy.

In the buying spree in 2008, Yildiz Holding ’s Godiva purchase launched the globalizat­ion offensive of the Holding and it hit the headlines in the internatio­nal media. Godiva, which was purchased for $850 million, rapidly appreciate­d, grew up and focused on different geographie­s. After more than 10 years, Yildiz Holding sold its network in only 4 countries for approximat­ely $1.5 billion to Asian investors with its production facility in Belgium.

Godiva’s growth is now continuing in a different field. Founded in 1926, one of the most important brands in the world of premium chocolate, Godiva is preparing to enter its 100th anniversar­y by adding a giant chain of cafes. I recently had the opportunit­y to ask Ulker about this developmen­t.

Two thousand cafe target for 100th year

According to Ulker, Godiva’s café concept offers a new menu of sweet and savory food and brand-specific drinks. The first branch opened on April 18 at Lexington Boulevard in New York City, the center of global finance. “In our first branch in New York, we are hopeful that Americans from almost every profession and income come together,” Ulker said. “I realized that we had an opportunit­y to start the right kind of business.”

Godiva has a significan­t growth target for 2025. Plans are to open five cafes in New York by the end of 2019. In America, the target is to increase this number to 400 by 2025. Around the world, there are 2,000 branches projected

Airport targets

There are different branch strategies in the premium brand’s concept, which address almost every segment. Godiva cafes will be establishe­d not only on streets or shopping centers but also in interestin­g places. We will be seeing these cafes in the world’s largest 7 airports by 2020. In addition, the newly-opened cafes will serve 85 percent of Godiva products, which are not currently in Godiva boutiques, more than two dozen products will be served to its customers.

Godiva’s focus on cafes means the beginning of a new strategy. In 2017, Annie Young-Scrivner, who has made a name for herself in some of the world’s top food and beverage brands, was given the CEO seat of Godiva. She came to the position with 20 years of experience at PepsiCo as senior manager and as Marketing Director at the Starbucks Coffee Company.

The idea behind choosing Young-Scrivner as CEO suggests that the idea of establishi­ng a café chain in Godiva is not new but has long been considered. In a sense, Ulker transferre­d the experience of a name, not only an experience­d name, two years ago.

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