Theobroma chocolate cafe: more than ‘one size fits all’

By Sarah Stowe | 09 May 2018 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: Theobroma cafeSpecialty chocolate stores have aimed to make a visit to their stores an experience rather than simply a shopping trip, positioning themselves as places to consume high-quality food and beverage products.

That’s according to senior IBISWorld analyst Bao Vuong, author of IBISWorld’s Specialty Chocolate Stores report.

Franchises have been less popular in the cafes and coffee shops industry, but within the specialty chocolate stores sector consumers have been attracted to familiar brands. This is expected to continue over the next five years as operators seek to expand their growing store networks across Australia. In an effort to support these store networks, major players will develop strong marketing strategies and set up business systems to take advantage of their larger size, suggests IBISWorld.

In the second of three articles on specific chocolate brands, Inside Franchise Business looks at Theobroma


Theo Racovalis, an award winning craftsman and chocolate connoisseur, developed the Theobroma concept in conjunction with an architect and designer, as an alternative for an Australian market they judged to be ‘coffee’d out’.

The chocolate range includes milk, dark, white and coloured chocolates, chocolate liqueurs, truffles, beverages, desserts and other chocolate snacks. You could say being a chocolate afficianado is the number one trait needed for any Theobrama franchisee.

Benjamin Fernandes, franchise and operations manager, says one of the best aspects of  Theobrama’s franchise model is the symbiotic relationship with the franchisee.

“We are unlike other franchises where the typical one size fits all,” says Fernandes.

Appreciating that different areas, people and demographics have different needs, various business models are available to suit the franchisee, as well as the customer.

“We therefore have a variety of concepts to choose from, both from an investment level and complexity of operation,” says Fernandes.

The chocolate chain believes heavily in good training and prides itself on well thought out and researched programs.

“We provide theory based trainings and relevant and practical training to get franchisees to a competency level to have the right attitude,” says Fernandes.

Theobrama offers lounges and lounge bars as well as pavilion and pavilion bars.

Lounges and lounge bars:

Created as an environment where the consumption of food and beverages is an experience in itself and offer customers a selection of seating to suit their mood. There are comfortable sofas and tub chairs to offer those who wish for a chance to pause and take a break, while the coffee bar and cafŽ seating with a selection of timber furniture provide a quick grab and go option. The Lounge Bars are licensed and offer a variety of chocolate themed cocktails along with boutique beer and wine.

Pavilions/pavilion bars:

Offers its patrons the finest hot and cold beverages, specialising in indulgent chocolate beverages, coffees, blended teas, and other custom drinks. In addition, Pavilion sites offer soft drinks, fresh-baked pastries and

other confections, as well as a range of the Theobroma chocolate retail products. Pavilion Bars are an expanded offering on the Pavilion concept but with the added addition of a chocolate cocktail menu and a limited beer and wine menu.

Thebroma franchisees need a friendly disposition, a willingness to work with the system, an enthusiastic approach to business, determination to grow and overall a great passion for the brand.