World Franchise Review | Autumn 2014 - page 10

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WORLDFRANCHISEREVIEW
Interview
Dirk vandeHaar
Creneau International isawell established
company thathasmoved into thesphereof
franchisingdue to itsexpertise in restaurant
designand fitout.Nowa franchisorof
excitingcasualdiningbrandsoperating
across internationalmarkets, thecompany
ispoised toexpand rapidlysupportedby its
headoffice inHasselt,Belgiumand its
MiddleEasthub inDubai.
DirkvandeHaar,CreneauMiddleEast
Director, talks toWorldFranchiseReview:
What is thehistoryofCreneau International
andhowdid it come toadopt the franchise
model for theexpansionof itsoperations?
Creneauhasbeenestablished for25years.
Thecompanywasbought in2001by thecurrent
ownerWernerVanherle,whohadpreviously
worked formanyyears at hisparents’
constructioncompany.Werner’s visionhas
alwaysbeen todevelopCreneau intonewmarkets
and in2006heopenedanoffice inDubai.
Creneau’soperations in theMiddleEast are
growing rapidlyand thecompany isbecominga
leadingdesignand fit out company in the region.
WhydidCreneaumove into franchising?
In1997BelgianbrewerABInbev launched
TheBelgianBeerCaféconcept andappointed
Creneauas itspreferreddesignand fit out
company.Thiswasour company’s first
introduction to franchisingandover theyears
our interestmoved from solelydesigningand
fittingout locations toalsooperatingand sub-
franchisingunits. In2012Creneau invested in
themaster franchise licence for theMiddleEast
regionandwe’veopened four cafes in theUAE
plusone in theUSA.Creneauhas also launched
theMaisonMathisbrand in three locations in the
UAEplusone inUSA.With theseopeningswe
havegenerateda lot of interest in thesebrands.
What isCreneau’sapproach tosupporting
franchisepartnersandmaintainingbrand
standards?
Creneaubelieves inproviding
traininganddevelopment from themanagement
down.Certified trainerswill trainnewmanagers
inexistingunits, thenonce the location is close to
openingwe send inouroperations team to train
the front andbackof house.Meanwhileweare
supportingbothpreandpost openingbranding
andmarketingand followingonwith regular
support visits.
What is the international appealof
Creneau'sbrandopportunities?
The strength
ofCreneau’sbrands is that theyarecasual and
recognizable to theguest.Withall our concepts
wewant theguest to feel comfortable in the
restaurant andwant tovisit us for anyoccasion.
The freshnessof the lookand feel appeals toevery
market and that hasbeendemonstratedover the
last coupleof yearswith the reactionsof the
marketplacesweareoperating in.
WhatareCreneau’sambitions for its
internationaldevelopment?
Webelieve in
expanding inamoderatemanner so thatwecan
achieveagoodbalancebetweenourown
operations and franchised locations. Franchising
is a very important part of our international
development plan, but innewmarketswealso
like topartially invest to introduceourbrands.
At themomentCreneau isoperating inBelgium,
Netherlands, France,UK,USA,Canada,UAE,
Qatar,Australia, Japanand Indonesia.Ourmain
focus right now isonexpanding in theMiddle
East,HongKong,Singapore,BangkokandEast
CoastUSA.
WhatmakesCreneau’s familyofbrands
standout in the internationalmarketplace?
Theauthentic lookand feel ofTheBelgianBeer
Cafébrandelevates it above theday-to-daybar to
aconcept that is inviting, easygoingand family
friendly.MaisonMathis combinesproduct
freshnesswith invitingatmosphereand flawless
service toproduceaconcept that fits every
market, be it office, residential orhotel.All our
brands arebackedbya support teamwitha level
of serviceand foodexperience thatmakes them
unique to themarketplace.
Creneau International
International vision
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