Heavenly Desserts is to open a new flagship dessert parlour in Birmingham as part of its openings programme in 2019, MCA has learnt.

Yousif Aslam, managing director at Heavenly Desserts, told MCA: “We are going to be developing our Birmingham territory. We have a store there at the moment, which has been there since 2008, but Birmingham is a big city so it is viable to have more than one site there.”

He said the new site would have space for more than 100 covers, with a planned opening this summer.

The next store in its pipeline to open in its pipeline will be in Cardiff city centre, in late May. Aslam said there was currently no concept like Heavenly Desserts in that region, so it was excited to be opening there. It will be followed by openings in Sheffield and Wolverhampton around June, before a busy period of openings in the summer.

Aslam said the operator would be moving into new territory with its London Stratford site opening, as well as Leeds, Luton, Bolton and Brighton – its first site in the south east – and two stores in Manchester.

In terms of geographical focus, Aslam said the dessert café was considering all locations, but it was dependent on finding the right franchise partner.

“Trading is very good considering the economic uncertainty – all of our stores are doing really well, with sales up on last year,” he added.

The business is also due to launch a dedicated vegan menu this spring, as part of an overhaul of its whole menu. “It has been in development for the past six to eight months – we want to make sure we got it right,” he said.

“We’ve had a gluten-free menu since 2017, which formed part of our main menu, but we will now be offering a separate menu for vegan and gluten free diners,” he said. He said request for these products have increased a lot so it felt it was the right time to embrace the trend.

The new standalone menu will feature 18-20 dishes main with alternative products that are suitable for vegans, such as soya bean ice cream.

Aslam told MCA earlier this year that it was looking to open 12 sites in 2019.