Flavored Coffee Innovator to Continue Focus on Mall-Based Growth and Add Street Front Locations to Compete with Industry’s Leading Brands
Gloria Jean’s Coffees, an original pioneer of the flavored and hand crafted coffee revolution, will mount an aggressive push for new market share in 2017 through a franchise focused expansion plan targeting key markets nationwide. The push is designed to utilize strong unit level economics built from the brand’s dominant mall-based retail locations and to capture new market share away from industry competitors in both its iconic mall spaces and street front real estate.
Founded in 1979 in a small town just north of Chicago, the company’s namesake, Gloria Jean Kvetko, saw a wide open market with a high consumer demand for specialty coffees, served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. With demand for quality coffee growing, the novel concept quickly became a success, and Gloria Jean’s outlets began opening across the United States. In 1986, Kvetko began franchising the business, and by 1993, Gloria Jean’s boasted nearly 225 stores. The smell of sweetly flavored coffees that unmistakably announced the brand’s presence became a staple in shopping malls across the U.S. in the 1990s.
Gloria Jean’s now has nearly 900 locations worldwide, and the brand continues to capture the attention of franchise investors and coffee aficionados as it increases its U.S. presence and competes, head-to-head against the industry’s biggest players.
“Gloria Jean’s is one of America’s original specialty coffee shops, and we remain focused on delivering quality to every customer, every day,” said Brian Balconi, President of Retail Food Group USA, parent company of Gloria Jean’s Coffees. “Nearly four decades after opening our first location, we continue to innovate with blends and flavors that coffee lovers can’t find anywhere else. That differentiation point is at the heart of our growth plans. In a constantly evolving coffee market, Gloria Jean’s remains the true original. We offered amazing flavored coffee, high-end, exotic beans and indulgent concoctions at the very beginning of the specialty coffee movement. We have remained authentic and true to our brand identity.”
By sourcing 100 percent of its coffees directly from exotic locations around the globe and then roasting every bean at its facility in California, Gloria Jean’s delivers on its promise of quality, premium blends. With nearly 90 percent of its locations inside malls, the brand has established a loyal customer base. Now, with demand for specialty coffee forecast to grow 16% by 2020, reaching $26.7 billion in total industry revenue, Gloria Jean’s has identified the unique opportunity to expand its following among specialty coffee consumers.
“Gloria Jean’s has established itself as an oasis for busy shoppers in need of a break or a caffeine jolt. But, the opportunities for increased market share grow exponentially outside of mall walls. We want to become the go-to spot for busy morning commuters or afternoon study sessions,” Balconi said. “That creates a wealth of exciting new franchise opportunities in the specialty coffee industry, which traditionally hasn’t had them available. Here in the U.S., you can’t own your own Starbucks franchise, but you can fulfill the dream of owning a coffee shop with Gloria Jean’s.”
The ambitious new push for franchise growth comes through Retail Food Group (RFG), which acquired the brand in December 2014. RFG is Australia’s largest multi-brand retail food franchisor and a leading wholesale coffee roaster with a track record of franchise development around the world. The brand’s C-level U.S. leadership team now boasts decades of franchise growth experience with mega brands like Little Caesars, Dunkin’ Brands, Yogurtland, T-Mobile and Denny’s. Using that background, the team is expanding Gloria Jean’s unique and unrivaled franchise opportunity.
“We have a distinctive, niche opportunity in one of the most desirable industries in franchising,” said Laina Sullivan, Director of Franchise Development for Retail Food Group USA. “We have remained true to our roots and never lost focus on what our customers are coming in for, a cup of high-quality specialty coffee. With the specialty coffee market now experiencing rapid growth, driven, entrepreneurial minded business operators eager to capitalize on the dream of owning an accessible, community coffee shop with a support system behind it will quickly find that Gloria Jean’s franchise offering stands alone as best in class.”
Gloria Jean’s new franchise expansion push will initially include the Midwest, Northeast United States and California, with specific market focus in the regions surrounding Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. metro areas, as well as other select markets across the country.
“Owning a bustling coffee shop and taking in the amazing aromas, flavors and friendly faces is something most people only dream about,” Balconi said. “By creating strong, locally owned businesses in communities across the country, our dedicated franchisees will make that dream a reality with Gloria Jean’s.”
Gloria Jean’s Coffees is an innovator in the specialty coffee segment, providing customers fresh, premium blends and award-winning roasts. Gloria Jean’s Coffees was founded in 1979 in a small town outside Chicago by the company’s namesake, Gloria Jean Kvetko. What began as a small gift shop soon became a nationwide and later international franchise concept, and the brand now boasts nearly 900 stores worldwide. Gloria Jean’s delectable menu also offers ice-blended chillers, mochas, lattes, hot cocoa, a variety of baked goods and pastries, whole beans and retail merchandise. For more information on Gloria Jean’s Coffees, visit www.gloriajeans.com. To inquire about franchise opportunities, visit www.gloriajeans.com/franchise.
 Coffee and Tea on Premise, Mintel, Dec. 2016