Heavenly Desserts has lined up a further eight sites for openings for 2021, which will take its estate to 43 cafés, managing director Yousif Aslam has told MCA.

Upcoming locations include its first sites in Scotland – in Glasgow and Edinburgh – this summer, alongside Newcastle, Cambridge and Southampton later in the year.

The high-end dessert café franchise has continued to expand during the pandemic, adding a further 10 sites over the past year – only five less than its 12-month target – in locations including Walthamstow, Hounslow, Watford, Manchester and York.

Aslam said that while seated capacity has been reduced by 20-30% when its site have been able to trade for indoor hospitality, all of its cafés have remained in operation throughout the pandemic offering delivery and takeaway.

The business had previously offered delivery but when it shifted to a delivery and takeaway-only model it saw “a massive increase in sales”, he said.

Since indoor dining reopened in May, Aslam said although there has naturally been some drop off “we have seen that our delivery sales are around 15% higher across the board, compared to pre-pandemic”.

He remained grounded in his view it could be a temporary boost due to a shift in spending habits during the pandemic, but said that a big positive to come out of the shift in its model was that Heavenly Desserts reached new customers via its delivery platforms who are now visiting the cafés in person.

“Since reopening in May we have seen some really strong sales from an instore perspective. At worse sales have gone back to pre-pandemic levels, but some of our stores are surpassing previous sales levels by between 10-25%,” he explained.