Sealing multi-unit franchise deals in markets throughout the United States and reporting average unit volumes exceeding $2.2 million last year, Corner Bakery Cafe is riding the momentum with numerous new market entries, menu introductions and several high-profile franchise agreements already in motion for 2012.
“It’s already starting out to be a big year for the brand, and there’s more big news to come,” said CEO Mike Hislop. “Based on multi-unit franchise agreements in the works and new company-owned cafes slated to open, Corner Bakery Cafe is on track to more than double our system within the next three and a half years. As consumers continue to embrace our ingredient-inspired, made-to-order food and neighborhood setting, we will continue to capture market share by gaining presence on corners in big cities and suburban communities around the country.”
Further energized by last year’s acquisition of the brand by the franchise-focused private equity firm Roark Capital Group, Corner Bakery Cafe will double its system growth rate this year, bringing its total cafes open to 148 by end of 2012. Of those cafes, 109 will be company owned and 39 will be franchised. While other concepts in the category were “built to franchise,” Corner Bakery Cafe waited until the model was perfected with a solid base of company-owned cafes operating efficiently before launching its franchise program in 2007. “We’ve got significant skin in the game,” Hislop noted. “Our franchisees appreciate that.”
Growing from a small bread bakery on a corner in downtown Chicago to a national cornerstone of the fast casual dining segment, Corner Bakery Cafe is in a league of its own, offering delicious, hand-crafted breakfasts, lunches, dinners and Grandma-inspired sweets and baked goods – appealing across all dayparts, lifestyles and consumer palates. In addition to its unrivaled, morning-to-night offerings, the company also provides a robust, best-in-class catering platform, presenting fresh food perfectly packaged for delivery or pick-up that makes up 20 percent of its sales base.
Also feeding Corner Bakery Cafe’s growth is continual food innovation, offering consumers a broad variety of prepared – not assembled – customizable options. Health-conscious consumers are literally eating up the recently introduced “100 Under 600” menu with an expansive selection of calorie-wise Corner Combos. New menu additions this year include the recent introduction of three new Power Panini Thins, a healthful, calorie-wise breakfast option. Corner Bakery Cafe’s signature panini line up will be further expanded with the upcoming introduction a new Sliced Meatball Panini. These new items, along with the introduction of two new handcrafted Mac n’ Three Cheese dishes, are just a few of the new items which keep Corner Bakery Cafe guests coming back, always wondering what’s next on the menu.
In 2011, Corner Bakery Cafe signed four multi-unit franchise agreements for 54 locations, including a nine-unit deal for Buffalo and Rochester, NY and a second deal with the same multi-unit developer for six locations in Syracuse, NY, as well as a 7-unit deal in South Texas and a 32-unit deal in San Francisco. More multi-unit franchise agreements are in the works and will be announced throughout the year.
New franchise openings currently in the pipeline include the first three locations of a 12-unit agreement with PhaseNext Hospitality, led by Roz Mallet, current chair of the National Restaurant Association, as well as two new locations with The Rose Group, which currently operates four locations in the greater Philadelphia market, as part of an 18-unit deal that will bring more Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants to Philadelphia, Delaware and southern New Jersey. Moreover, several new locations are under construction, including Florida’s second location in Miami, San Diego’s third location, and a third cafe in Utah.
To spearhead the continued growth, Corner Bakery Cafe recently announced that hospitality industry veteran Jonathan Benjamin joined the company as Vice President of Franchise Sales. The former Vice President of the Development Team at Wyndham Worldwide, Benjamin provides a proven sales track record, exceptional leadership, performance and results.
Benjamin noted that while other brands within the bakery cafe category have sold out territories, Corner Bakery Cafe has multiple untapped markets available for qualified multi-unit operators. Key markets for expansion include the New York Metro area, Northern California, Central and Northern Florida, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Columbus, Charlotte and Nashville, to name a few.
“Our brand stays on top with a smart business model, a top-notch senior management team and continuous innovation,” Hislop noted. “There’s no stopping us now.”
Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Chicago, Clifton, NJ, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Jackson, Miss., Los Angeles/Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Antonio, and Washington D.C. Established in 1991, Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants are owned and operated by CBC Restaurant Corp. with 130 company-owned and franchised locations around the country. Founded on a philosophy of creating a place for people to relax and gather with family and friends, Corner Bakery Cafe features innovative, seasonal menu options while delivering a premier bakery cafe experience in the heart of neighborhoods everywhere. For more information, visit www.cornerbakerycafe.com.