In sad news for chocolate lovers, Belgian luxury chocolate brand Godiva announced it is exiting brick-and-mortar operations in North America. According to Food Business News, the company said it would be closing or selling off all 128 store locations across Canada and the United States by end of March.
The retail locations included chocolate boutiques as well as cafés, which served Godiva-inspired baked goods like waffles, cookies, and the signature Croiffle—a croissant pressed in a waffle iron. The brand opened their first café concept in 2019 in New York City, and announced an ambitious expansion plan of 2,000 more café locations around the world by 2025. More than 400 of those new locations were supposed to open in the United States. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)
However, changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic were cited as the reason behind the brand's sudden pivot.
"Our brick-and-mortar locations in North America have had a clear purpose since we first opened our doors in this market—to provide an in-person experience for consumers to enjoy the world's most exquisite chocolates," said Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a statement. "We have always been focused on what our consumers need and how they want to experience our brand, which is why we have made this decision."
While you won't be able to enjoy the high-end boutique chocolate experience anymore, you won't have to say goodbye to Godiva's chocolate. The brand will still be sold at retail and online. In fact, Afridi said the company's goal is to partner with even more North American retailers to make Godiva's products available to a wider audience.
And if you're traveling, you'll find the signature locations abroad. The brand will keep their retail stores in other markets like Europe, Middle East, and Greater China.
Godiva's cafés are just the latest in a series of bakery and coffee chains that have closed a significant number of locations due to the pandemic. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.