Choco & Nut – an Algarve brand of cafés that specialises in mouthwatering desserts such as pancakes, waffles and crepes served with the world-famous chocolate and hazelnut spread Nutella – is going international and is preparing to open its first two stores in Angola.
The brand was created in 2015 by two physiotherapists from Faro, Rui Marcelo and Mário Afonso.
The first café opened in Faro in front of the local bus station and had enough space for just four tables.
But as café manager Tânia Piedade explains, “it was an instant success”.
People, lured by the mouthwatering creations, would flock to the small café to indulge their cravings. It did not take long for the brand to expand.
“In 2017, we opened another café in Olhão which I am now responsible for. Then we opened in Cacilhas, Évora and Portimão. The following year, we opened in Odivelas. But the biggest step will be taken this year,” Tânia says, referring to the opening of two Choco & Nut cafés in shopping centres in Luanda, the capital of Angola.
“From a small store in Faro, the brand is now expanding to another continent. It makes us extremely proud to see what we have achieved so far,” she says.
The cafés in Angola will open via a franchising scheme and will be managed by an Angolan businessman who was impressed by the Choco & Nut concept after visiting two of the brand’s cafés.
“He told us that he identified with the brand and that it would be perfect to take the concept to Luanda. We met up and presented a business plan. He called us back a few days later to tell us he wanted to open two cafés in Luanda. And, in the future, he says he wants to open more.”
In September, the owners and four staff members are due to travel to Angola to provide training.
Also due to open soon are two cafés in Lisbon, one of them as soon as this summer. There is also the possibility of expanding to Porto and opening more stores in the Algarve.
But what sets Choco & Nut apart from other cafés of this kind?
“It is, above all, the quality, presentation and constant innovation. These are all factors that we take seriously. There is also a great effort on our social media pages. We believe it is fundamental to be in contact with our clients,” Tânia says.
But, of course, what it most important is the quality of the product. The batter used for the pancakes, waffles and crepes is homemade.
“We insist in it being homemade,” Tânia explains, adding that the goal is to start serving only homemade ice-cream too.
The cafés also serve churros, milkshakes and other decadent delights.
The demand for cafés like Choco & Nut is high, as Tânia says that around 35 three-kilo buckets of Nutella are used every day at the Olhão café alone.
All Choco & Nut cafés open at 2pm and stay open until midnight except on Friday and Saturday when they close at 1am. The cafés close on Monday.
Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.