If you frequently visit cafes, you’ll notice that one of the trendiest menu items these days are croffles.
A cross between croissants and waffles (yes, like how the infamous cronut is a hybrid of croissants and donuts), the croffle’s appeal is pretty clear. Both pastries it’s based on are popular items to begin with, and when together, they seem to offer a synergistic product.
At least, that seems to be the case, what with the fact that there are several dedicated brands in Malaysia now that sell it, one of the popular ones being Madam Croffle.
Meet Madam Croffle herself
Hailing from South Korea, where croffles are known to have originated from, Nadia Han—who has also been referred to as Han Na Rae or Han Soo Rin—and her husband Yu Hyunwoo (Saad) have been in Malaysia since 2016.
Saad’s brother had already converted to Islam 13 years ago, which led Saad to convert too.
“After witnessing it, I got familiar with Islam and thought that it was a good religion, so I converted myself,” she said to KL Foodie.
In 2020, Nadia told Have Halal Will Travel that she was still slowly learning about halal food, modest clothing, and prayers from the Muslim community.
“Everything is new, and it takes time, faith, and dedication to learn,” she said at the time.
Prior to starting Madam Croffle, the two already had their start in the F&B world, having opened EID Authentic Korean Cuisine, a restaurant in Cyberjaya serving halal Korean food. Established in 2016, the restaurant has four branches today.
Meanwhile, Madam Croffle got its start less than a year ago in April 2022 but already has 12 outlets and counting.
Customising the croffle experience
In the interview with KL Foodie, Nadia shared that the brand uses their own recipe for the dough. Apparently, the croffle connoisseurs even use a specialised “croffle machine” rather than a waffle machine as one might assume.
Nadia claimed that these machines can’t be found in Malaysia, and thus were imported from South Korea. In the KL Foodie interview, she shared that she believes this is what makes the brand different.
The video from KL Foodie also shows how the croffle gets made, starting with spraying down the dough and fermenting it. The dough is then coated in white sugar and cooked in the dedicated croffle machine.
At RM7.90, the Original Madam Croffle is as basic as it comes. Although it doesn’t come with any toppings, it does appear to have some icing sugar powdered over it. Nadia shared that this is her favourite menu item.
With the Special Madam Croffle (RM10.90), customers can choose two toppings. The Premium Madam Croffle (RM11.90) offers three topping selections.
Options for toppings include a variety of fruits, sauces, and more—similar to what ice cream joints typically offer.
Other than croffles, the brand also offers bingsu (Korean shaved ice). Bingsu flavours include Teh Tarik, Taro (Nadia’s pick), Chocolate, Durian, Coconut Pandan, and Dairy Yoghurt. At RM11.90, customers can choose up to two toppings for this dessert.
There are also ice-blended drinks and smoothies to enjoy. Prices start at RM11.90 and flavours include Green Tea Jeju Matcha, Strawberry Yoghurt Smoothie, Cloud Yoghurt Smoothie, and Plain Yoghurt Smoothie.
The ingredients used at Madam Croffle are all halal-certified, though it seems like the brand itself hasn’t acquired a halal certification.
Franchising the brand
Just recently, I was at IOI City Mall Putrajaya and was tempted to try Madam Croffle. However, to my surprise, there was quite the queue there. I ended up leaving, but promising myself I’d try it another day.
Other than riding this apparent croffle craze, Madam Croffle’s rapid expansion and growth are likely thanks to its franchise business model, meaning any business owner could run their very own Madam Croffle outlet.
A full breakdown of the start-up cost can be found on the Madam Croffle website. For a five-year term, franchisees will pay an RM80,000 fee to use the brand, though they would have to factor in other costs like renovation, branding fees, equipment, and more.
This model has brought Madam Croffle to 12 outlets, including one all the way in Melaka. The list of outlets as of now includes:
- MyTOWN Shopping Centre
- Central i-City
- Tropicana Gardens Mall
- AEON Mall Nilai
- AEON Mall Shah Alam
- Setia Ecohill Mall
- Setia City Mall
- IOI City Mall
- Mahkota Parade
- PKNS Shah Alam
- Melawati Mall
- KL East Mall
There are already a couple more locations teased, including malls such as KLCC and Pavilion KL.
With that in mind, Malaysians will likely see more and more Madam Croffles pop up across the country. However, how long will this croffle trend last, and will other similar chains start to appear as well?
Perhaps it will be like the bubble tea trend which has continued until today. More players may help the continuation of croffles as a product, but also heighten competition for Madam Croffle.
In any case, the brand is not even a year old yet, so only time will tell where Madam Croffle can go from here.
- Learn more about Madam Croffle here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Madam Croffle