In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about Sweet Paris Crêperie from its founders, husband and wife duo, Ivan and Allison Chavez.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What drew you two to the crêpe concept?
Allison Chavez (AC): We both have such a passion for traveling and trying the food of different countries, especially variations of the crêpe. Our love for crêpes began when Ivan would reminisce over his experiences with crêpes. From growing up in Mexico and studying abroad during college in Paris, the one thing that was a part of his daily routine was crêpes. He noticed that they were everywhere he turned but when he got home to the US, the lack of knowledge of the crêpe was astounding.
FC: What was the need/desire for crêpes like when you began this journey and what is Sweet Paris doing to make crêpes trendy again?
Ivan Chavez (IC): Research into the world of crêpes began when I returned to the US after studying in Paris. I found that there was such a need for a filling, delicious and beautiful looking crêpe concept, as others around the Houston area skimped on ingredients and overcharged for what they served. That is when Sweet Paris was born – out of the desire to provide the community with a sweet or savory meal in an ambiance that exudes romance and makes you forget about reality, even for a moment, just like the city of Paris does.
FC: How is Sweet Paris disrupting the fast-casual restaurant industry?
AC: There is no concept like it on the market and we strive to keep it that way, or to at least be the leader of the crêperie category.
FC: How has the presentation of your menu items posed as a unique marketing tactic?
IC: The presentation of our food and decorative interiors has caught the eyes of influencers all around Texas. These influencer posts have proven to be a great, organic marketing tactic for us. These “food-tographers,” as we like to call them, capture the brand essence and have basically been each location’s and corporate’s marketing strategy. Little to no budget has gone into marketing because of the immense coverage these people have curated and continue to curate for us.
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FC: How is Sweet Paris overcoming the stigma of being a “dessert shop”?
AC: Most often when someone hears “crêpe,” they assume that it is a light, sweet treat. It can, in fact, be a great sweet treat, or a savory and filling one at that! Sweet Paris specializes in crêpes of all kinds, but also offers other menu items like paninis, salads, soups, milkshakes, specialty coffees, etc.
Sweet Paris also has an atmosphere and aesthetic that is commonly known to attract a large female audience, but we want to stress that people of all ages and genders should be able to enjoy the luxurious ambiance and the wide range of menu and drink items.
FC: Why has it been important to saturate the Texas market with your concepts before expanding elsewhere?
IC: We like to dominate one area before expanding into a new market because we like to drum up as much brand awareness as possible. We like our consumers as well as our competitors to know that we are here, we are thriving, and we are the “fan favorite” of wherever we leave our mark.
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FC: Why is Sweet Paris the ideal franchise opportunity for potential strategic partners?
AC: When people are looking to invest in franchises, they are hoping to get the best bang for their buck and to ultimately run a successful business, and that’s what we want for our strategic partners! When signing with Sweet Paris, there are no strings attached. There are little to no hidden fees, and the concept is efficient and easy to understand for both investors, consumers and strategic partners who come from more complicated food industry backgrounds.
Being an Instagrammable spot also allows Sweet Paris to put little to no money toward a marketing budget. Not to mention, we are a first-to-market concept and there is so much opportunity for the growth in popularity of crêpes in the U.S.
FC: What qualities do you look for in strategic partners? How do you want their passion to complement the brand?
IC: We hope to onboard strategic partners that really immerse themselves into the brand with their shared passion for crêpes and the restaurant business. We look for individuals who are financially qualified, love serving people, who are excited by challenges and are willing to follow and uphold our systems and standards. They are to be highly involved in the concept, have food-industry or hospitality experience, as well as strong organizational and people skills. But most importantly, they should be willing to invest in more than one location, as it is a requirement.
FC: How has Sweet Paris fared during COVID, and are there any other related effects to note from it?
AC: While things looked grim for the entire restaurant industry during March through May when we were forced to shut our doors and only offer take out, Sweet Paris has currently recovered incredibly quickly and actually exceeded sales the last two months year over year. This is even with limited 75% occupancy limitations. We believe we achieved this by quickly pivoting to expand our online platform presence for takeout, leaning on our beautiful patios, and creating a safe, very sanitized, and always beautiful dining experience for our fans.
During this time, no one takes for granted dining out. As consumers have become more selective about their outings, we believe Sweet Paris offers a dining experience that is truly special and unique, rising to the top of our fans’ lists.
FC: How can someone learn more about franchise opportunities with Sweet Paris?
IC: A potential strategic partner, or someone just hoping to learn more about the brand, can visit https://www.sweetparisfranchise.com/.