Kaspa’s Desserts is a chain of exciting franchise dessert houses that offers its patrons the world’s favourite hot and cold desserts all under one roof. Here, RLI sits down with company Founder & CEO Azhar Rehman to learn more about its infamous products and discuss the expansion of the business and what keeps bringing people back for more.
Launched in the UK back in 2012, the mission behind Kaspa’s Desserts is to create an environment where enjoying authentic desserts with family, friends and loved ones is an unforgettable experience. The business strives to continuously provide their guests with irresistible products and unrivalled customer service.
Their menu boasts a mouth-watering selection of ice creams, gelatos, waffles, crepes, milkshakes, smoothies and sundaes and their parlous will change the way customers view a dessert.
By the end of this summer, Kaspa’s Desserts will have a portfolio of over 90 stores, and will be present on three continents. “We have opened a double-digit number of stores in the last year, despite the difficulties the ongoing pandemic has presented,” explains Azhar Rehman, Founder & CEO of Kaspa’s Desserts. “Our tenth anniversary is at the end of the year and we would like to celebrate this by reaching the century mark. Whilst this would be a massive achievement for a business of our size, we are setting in place the groundwork to increase the number of openings over the coming years.”
In terms of its recent expansion, the company launched a site in Southampton at the beginning of May and in Surrey at the beginning of June. Both of these sites received an overwhelming response and were opened by existing franchisees, one now operating five sites with the other now running two locations.
Meanwhile, last winter they launched their second store in Bristol and this has also achieved tremendous success. This particular site opened up a new retail park model which the chain is now looking to expand to other locations.
The aim for Kaspa’s is to open an additional 25 to 30 stores in the UK within the next 24 months whilst continuing the positive discussions with partners in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“We are currently exploring international markets with the view of issuing Master Franchise Agreements. We are already operational in Pakistan and our first store in Marrakesh opens in August. We have a very high level of interest from various countries and we are fairly flexible in our approach, but having a single interface with a partner helps and offers more benefits to the Master franchisee,” says Rehman.
When looking for new locations, the most important aspect for the team is to study the demographics and shopper habits in the surrounding area, but they also take into consideration the overall outlook of the premises as its visibility and accessibility are pivotal to a memorable customer experience.
The customer experience is more prevalent than ever, and the Kaspa’s business model is based around an experience that is memorable, therefore they make every effort to create the right ambience for their customers to enjoy and come back.
The company has recently invested in a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to remain close to loyal as well as new customers and they provide engaging material on social media to ensure the memories remain alive after a visit.
“In addition, we are always looking to develop new products through our experienced and innovative team. We frequently travel across the UK and further afield to bring back inspiration and new ideas. We also have regular meetings with our suppliers and have brainstorming sessions to keep up with new trends. Some old favourites can be revised and modernised, but we always maintain an open mind and the bravery to try something new. We are not afraid of failing – as long as we learn something and get it right next time.”
Technology has rapidly advanced within the hospitality industry in terms of the way companies interact with their guests. From delivery services, table ordering, self-service kiosks to click and collect, Kaspa’s have adapted in order to remain up-to-date with current trends.
A new Kaspa’s Desserts app has just been released with more functionality, but Rehman says that the momentum in technological innovation never stops. He feels that the key is to find the next opportunity, which is something that they did during the pandemic when their online sales grew by over 80 per cent.
“We engage with our customers through regular online activity, loyalty programs, offers and incentives such as partnering up with theme parks, holiday operators, movie launches and more. But above all else, we need to be consistent throughout our growth,” Rehman comments.
Sustainability is a hot topic in the world of hospitality, and this matter is an important one for Kaspa’s. From banning single-use plastic, like straws, to opting for paper-based options and materials, to using heat recycling dishwashers, it is engrained in all that they do. Rehman feels that everyone associated with the company is all in it together and in the past decade they have seen some of their guests grow with them. He goes on to say that the new generations that are coming through have clear ideas about protecting the environment, and that they make choices about where they eat based upon these views. He is proud of the work that they do in this space and vows that they will continue to break new ground moving forward.
So what does he feel are the key drivers behind the brand’s success in the last ten years?
“I feel that the excitement that we create in our parlours is a key part of our success. Our proposition always wants to be exciting, we always want to keep up with current trends and we always want to be ahead of the curve for new trends.”
As the interview reaches its conclusion, Rehman explains about what comes next and what challenges the business faces in the future by saying that cost of living and inflation could be a challenge for every business and that Kaspa’s tries to keep the costs down for their guests through economies of scale.
“We are also concerned about the environment and global warming in general and we are continuously striving to improve our carbon footprint. But we remain excited and committed to following our growth plan and continuing our UK and international growth in the right and most sustainable way.”