In just six short years, Crumbl Cookies has risen from a fledgling startup to one of America’s hottest franchising opportunities. The weekly rotating menus, trendy pink boxes, and open kitchens have driven brand awareness through the roof and fueled rapid expansion across 42 states so far.
But how did this now-billion-dollar cookie empire come to be? And what really makes the franchising model so enticing for prospective business owners?
Origins of a Cookie Dynasty
Crumbl traces its origins to 2017 and two founders with no professional baking experience, Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley. The childhood friends from Utah set out on what they called the “perfect cookie quest” through relentless testing and refinement.
Their experiments resulted in a proprietary process for chocolate chip cookies that achieves the ideal balance of crisp edges with a soft, doughy interior. They also embraced the versatility to create new flavors featuring weekly specials.
By 2018, the first franchise location had opened, and Crumbl Enterprises LLC was formed to support franchising the following year. Despite early copycats trying to mimic the successful format, the brand has exploded across over 550 stores operating today. Revenues now exceed $1 billion annually.
Why franchisees Clamor for Crumbl?
Remarkable sales volumes prove that Crumbl Cookies enjoys consumer enthusiasm, making the franchise opportunity highly appealing. The average location generates nearly $1.7 million in annual revenue based on 2021 FDD disclosures.
Net profit checks in at around $350,000 per store, easily placing Crumbl among the most lucrative options within the food services sector. Plus, franchisees praise corporate support programs that facilitate smooth store openings and operations.
The signature weekly rotating flavors create anticipation and excitement, drawing in repeat customers. Crumbl also understands the power of branding through social media and viral food trends. The pink boxes beg to be featured in posts and feeds.
While the highly competitive cookie category poses risks, Crumbl differentiates itself through quality ingredients and the theater of watching cookies made fresh in-store.
What can new franchisees expect?
Given average unit volumes exceeding $1.5 million, Crumbl unsurprisingly requests higher financial qualifications from prospective franchisees compared to other food concepts.
The chain prefers candidates to have a $500,000 minimum net worth and $150,000 in liquid assets. The required total investment ranges from $367,000 on the low end up to $1.4 million. That funding covers real estate, equipment, grand opening marketing, and 3 months of operating capital.
Ongoing fees include an 8% royalty on gross sales and a 3.5% ad budget contribution. Franchisees should factor in these recurring costs, which can approach $300,000 annually for top-tier locations.
In return for royalty payments, Crumbl provides site selection expertise, custom floor plans, supply chain coordination, management software, pre-opening team training, and grand opening launch support. Franchise owners also gain access to proprietary recipes and operational methods.
The Cookie Kingdom Beckons
Crumbl Cookies discovered a formula for franchising success: blending tempting flavors, savvy branding, and entertainment value around the customer experience.
For owners, unit-level economics surpass almost any restaurant model while leveraging corporate efficiencies behind technology, marketing, and product innovation.
Despite its youth as a franchise system, Crumbl exhibits the infrastructure to nurture longevity. With plenty of geographic expansion ahead and new menu creations driving social media, the sky’s the limit for an organization already crossing ten-figure annual sales.
Those captivated by the profitable prospects should still carefully analyze their personal skills, financial position, and market dynamics before committing to such a sizeable investment. But plenty of ingredients seem in place to keep satisfying America’s sweet tooth at this booming cookie enterprise.