MAPIC 2022: 3 key considerations for eco-conscious hospitality investors

Creams Cafe

International retail property show, MAPIC, returns this November, focusing on the theme People, Planet, Profit: Navigating retail towards a more ‘human’ world. A subject close to the hearts of the team at Creams Cafe, in the run-up to the event, they share what prospective franchise partners should consider when investing in a successful – and sustainable – franchise.

In its 27th year, MAPIC is expecting around 1,500 retailers and food and leisure brands from 80 countries. Universally celebrated dessert parlour franchise, Creams Cafe, will be exhibiting with a stand in the general hall and a presence in the dedicated exhibition area The Happetite – a space for innovative restaurants to showcase their latest food concepts. Focusing on customer experience by featuring exhibition areas, conferences and workshops, the event also carefully considers diversity – ensuring its exhibitors, attendees, partners and event colleagues come from a wide variety of backgrounds to make the event inclusive and the collective experience richer.

With over 100 locations across the UK alone, Creams Cafe has always had a strong focus on people at the heart of their business alongside working towards a sustainable business for the future. Below are the renowned franchisor’s top three elements prospect investors should consider, guaranteeing their investment is with a brand that cares as much about the planet and its people as its financial success.

Is there an ESG framework in place?

An essential component a sustainable business should have in place is environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy. A responsible brand considers its impact on the environment and community around them – and how that could be improved – as opposed to ignoring these considerations. Making assumptions rather than taking an active read of what impact a franchise location has on its environment is not only irresponsible but damaging to the future of our planet. Othman Shoukat, Managing Director at Creams Cafe, explains why this is.

“Any business which is unwilling to understand its impact or rather is unwilling to communicate key ESG considerations to their consumers, will harm the overall sustainability of the hospitality sector. When a company provides the market with misleading information to help them seem more ecologically friendly – also called greenwashing – in fact encourages consumers to choose a less sustainable option. Having a transparent Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and Sustainability Framework in place, as we do at Creams, ensures everyone is on the same page – both the business and its consumer are working towards a greener future together.”

Is diversity celebrated?

A diverse brand is more likely to understand the wide range of its customers’ needs due to a larger variety of opinions and experiences within the team. There are around 5.6 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, yet only 5% of these are led by those in the ethnic minority1 – a statistic that proves although we have made strides in becoming more inclusive as a nation, there is still room for improvement. Creams Cafe stands out from the crowd when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

“Our head office team is ethnically diverse (52% non-white British or born outside the UK) and gender balanced (57% female) whilst our network of over 30 multi-unit franchise partners, also shares a similar diversity. This variety also means the whole workforce feels welcomed into the business no matter their gender, race or religion. This also provides us with diversity of thought,” adds Othman.

Is the key supply chain sustainable?

The supply chain is vital to consider when investing in a business in the hospitality sector. Does the business rely solely on suppliers for products and services and what could impact an interruption of supply? If the business has in-house production facilities, where are their base ingredients sourced from and what is their impact on the environment? These types of questions naturally come from both savvy investors and customers nowadays. From eco-friendly ingredients to making sure workers are paid fairly, the supply chain of a business – and how it impacts both social and natural environments – is a giveaway to how sustainable they are. Whilst most hospitality businesses aren’t fully eco-friendly or carbon negative just yet, it’s important a business takes steps to achieve this goal. At Creams, products are clean-label, our own gelato factory gives us the power to set high standards and the franchise aims to be an industry leader by making sure its diverse team of staff are paid above minimum wage.

Andy Malthouse, Construction Director at Creams, shares what other steps a brand should take to consider its environmental impacts and energy efficiency in his area of expertise of construction activities and materials. “It is well documented that construction negatively and significantly impacts the environment, but it’s all our responsibility to do whatever we can to reduce and where possible eliminate activities that impact our global environment. As a business, Creams assess everything from energy efficiency to the materials we use in our fit-out process to ensure we select as many environmentally responsible alternatives as possible. This limits the amount of irreplaceable natural resources we use and reduces the number of resources that end up in landfill at the end of their use. As part of our continued commitment to ensuring our construction closely mirrors our sustainability values, we only allow shopfitting companies on our approved list who can demonstrate they have a genuine commitment and interest in reducing our carbon footprint.”

“Currently, we are re-writing our works schedules to further reinforce these considerations, favouring more recycled products within the construction process, and determining how we can reduce energy consumption in the running of our restaurants. Any difference we can make will have a positive effect on not only the environment but also on our franchise partners’ ongoing running costs.”

There’s one more thing that Creams also urge budding entrepreneurs to consider… a brand’s investors.

“In December 2020, Pistachio Holdings and co-investor Salonica Maroon acquired a majority stake in the business. Salonica Maroon is a social impact fund with a focus to assuage societal ills by investing into diversity, promoting entrepreneurship among diverse communities, and actively inculcating diversity into executive management teams,” says Othman. “We care about the future of our people and our planet. In having a key investor who shares our values, we generate a positive impact for our stakeholders including the communities where our restaurants operate. This doesn’t detract from us maximising financial returns and, in fact, good ESG policies enhance financial returns for shareholders.”

MAPIC will provide hospitality businesses like Creams Cafe the opportunity to showcase their success as a business as well as their focus on people and the environment this November. On track to reach its target of 500 stores globally in the next five years, Creams is a prime example of how a business can prioritise its expansion and its impact on the planet. For more information about investment opportunities with Creams Cafe, visit

1 London Chamber, 2022, Ethnic diversity in business: removing barriers impeding business success


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