🍟 7/25/2022 – The Rise of Crumbl Cookies

DEEP DIVE 

What Crumbl Has Gotten Right

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen me talk about Crumbl. This cookie franchise has gone from being founded in 2017, to having 537 stores open today!

Not only that, they have an average unit volume of $1.68 million, and an average net profit per store of ~$357,000. The rapid growth combined with the high profitability is unheard of in franchising, and as a system they’re on track to do over $1 billion in revenue this year!

To emphasize that, within 5 years this franchise has become a unicorn!

Yes, I’m aware that not everyone loves their cookies, but that’s not the point of this deep dive.

Taste may be subjective, but there are other aspects to Crumbl that they’ve objectively gotten right. 

Crumbl is an example of a modern franchise – founded by 2 cousins who understand technology and social media, they applied the leverage of the internet to a franchise system, and the results have been nothing short of amazing.

Emerging franchises should take note of this to apply to their own business, as well as aspiring franchisees who are in search of what a top franchise looks like in 2022.

Let’s take a look…

1. Product

Whatever your business is, you should strive for an exceptional product or service. 

When it comes to Crumbl, cookies are obviously not a differentiated product – Mrs. Fields, Nestle, etc. have been dominating the industry for years. But that didn’t stop Crumbl from trying to make their cookie special.

The founders spend thousands of dollars A/B testing recipes, and apparently would hang out at gas stations to ask civilians to taste-test their cookies.

That may sound crazy, but they were obsessive with creating “the world’s best chocolate chip cookie”, and they didn’t stop until they felt it was perfect.

2. Branding

Crumbl’s internal motto is “it’s all about the details”.

That’s why every take-out + delivery order goes into their iconic pink packaging. Whether it’s a 4, 6, or 12-pack box, each is designed to fit the cookies side-by-side & create the perfect unboxing experience.

With over 500 locations nationwide, Crumbl is now known for their packaging, as cookie fans nationwide think of Crumbl when they see their packaging.

The attention to detail is what I love most about this aspect of Crumbl – many founders are naturally juggling so many different things when launching their business that the packaging may be overlooked.

Crumbl’s founders turned this aspect of the business into something that strengthens their brand every day with each order.

3. Social Media

Crumbl has built a MASSIVE audience on social media. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • TikTok: 5.6M followers
  • Twitter: 531K followers
  • Instagram: 2.1M followers
  • YouTube: 774K subscribers

This is insane scale, and puts their social following cumulatively just ~15% below McDonald’s, the biggest franchise in the world that’s been around since 1955.

Crumbl uses social media to acquire customers and build awareness for much less advertising dollars than competitors. They also do a weekly “unboxing” show on YouTube that draws in 100,000+ viewers a week and keeps their brand top of mind for customers!

If you’re still sleeping on social media as a differentiator for your business, it’s time to wake up!

Social media, especially TikTok, is starting to play a larger and larger role culturally. If you don’t believe me – read about why tens of thousands of Gen Z’s recently wore suits to movie theaters to watch Minions.

4. Scarcity

Speaking of the weekly “unboxing” show, Crumbl does that because of their weekly rotating menu

While the chocolate chip cookie + sugar cookie is a staple to Crumbl’s menu, they rotate 5 other flavors on a weekly basis.

So yes, this means you may not get your favorite cookie every single week. I’ve received replies on twitter that denounce this as bad business, but I firmly disagree.

The rotating menu induces a sense of scarcity that gets customers to purchase when their favorite flavors are indeed available. Not only that, it keeps fans and customers engaged and on the lookout for their favorite flavors via social media.

Given the revenue and profitability numbers per store, it’s safe to say this method works for business.

5. Technology

Crumbl has invested in technology from the get-go. The 1st corporate hire was a Senior Tech Lead at Facebook, and what they’ve built is impressive.

New franchisees that onboard receive internal KPI tracking that allows them to measure themselves by:

  • Cook times
  • Delivery times
  • Product availability 
  • etc.

This is undoubtedly critical for Crumbl’s franchisees performing well, as they’re instantly able to see if they’re falling short in a particular area.

Beyond franchisees, Crumbl has fantastic consumer-facing technology too.

Customers can use the mobile app to order delivery, pickup, catering, digital gift cards, etc. and incentivizes users to follow them on social media in exchange for “Crumbs”, creating a fantastic feedback loop for Crumbl.

That’s How the Cookie Crumbles…

Crumbl is the perfect example of what a modern brick & mortar franchise should strive to look like.

As an aside, I find if hilarious that industry sources like Entrepreneur don’t even list Crumbl in their “Top Franchises” list, proving how untrustworthy their ranking system is.

Crumbl has a proven brand, product and operating system – franchisees want to buy into a franchise so that they can access those things on day 1, and skip the time & money it’d take to figure it out on their own.

It’s obvious Crumbl provides a ton of value, which is why franchisees have bought in all over the country.


FRANCHISE HEADLINES

Florida’s Biggest McDonald’s Franchisee Sells Out

The Casper family is 3rd generation McDonald’s owners – and they’re selling all of their 60 locations back to McDonald’s corporate. Given that today, the average McDonald’s sells for 10x EBITDA, we can comfortably assume the purchase price is (conservatively) ~$175 million. Not a bad family business to be born into!

History of Wendy’s Twitter Account

The Wendy’s twitter account is the sassiest brand on planet earth. From roasting people, to taking shots at competitors like McDonald’s and Burger King, they’re always stirring the pot. Here’s a breakdown on how it all came to be, starting with “the tweet heard round the world“. 

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