Sweet shops selling Willy Wonka-style dessert creations like bubble waffles and chimney cakes are set to appear across the UK as bosses of new London store Hans & Gretel have revealed plans for a nationwide chain.
Linda Lim, co-founder of Hans & Gretel UK, is gearing up for the official launch of the first store in London’s Camden Market early next month, offering imaginative desserts in a setting inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
Having taken on the UK franchise for Hans & Gretel, she told the PA news agency they have ambitious plans to open in every major city across the UK, starting with more in central London over the next year and then expanding nationwide.
Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh are among cities in their sights, with plans to potentially take on more franchisees across the UK.
Hans & Gretel started life in Greece, where it currently has a handful of shops, and has since expanded to Cyprus, Istanbul and now London.
The Camden Market store has been decked out with giant lollipops and marshmallows from the ceiling, with Ms Lim and her team aiming to offer a “threatrical candy land” experience.
Sweet-toothed customers can tuck in to freshly-spun cotton candy from a candy-floss station, a pick’n’mix of world candies and colourful artisan gelato among other weird and wacky desserts.
Ms Lim said it has been designed to appeal to adults and children.
“You don’t have to be a child to find that inner child in you,” she said.
“I take pride in the space we have managed to create, for it allows everyone to immerse in their childhood and put a smile on their face.”
Hans & Gretel is currently looking at a couple of sites across London but also planning some pop-up events to help cement the brand in the UK, with music festivals and the capital’s Winter Wonderland also potentially on the horizon.
Ms Lim said: “The first priority since we decided to launch Hans & Gretel in the UK with our partners, was to create a flagship store in London that will form the base for further expansion across the UK.”
She added: “The next steps are to launch our brand in high profile pop-up events and also expand to other central locations in London.”
“Our vision is to expand the UK franchise in the next five years and turn Hans & Gretel into a respected brand,” she said.