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The secret to Crumbl Cookies’ explosive franchise growth

How did this cookie concept open more than 300 locations in five years? Cofounder Jason McGowan explains.


Historically speaking, few restaurant companies have experienced the kind of growth that Crumbl Cookies is enjoying right now.

The treat franchise, which opened its first location in Logan, Utah, in 2017, had already expanded to 330 locations by the end of 2021, according to NRN’s Top 500, conducted in partnership with Datassential’s Firefly 500 platform. And there are no signs of that explosive growth rate slowing down any time soon.

CEO Jason McGowan, who cofounded Crumbl with his cousin Sawyer Hemsley, said the individual success of each franchisee has been key to this growth. By focusing on unit economics and maximizing each franchisee’s profitability, Crumbl has seen its franchise partners commit to more and more locations — “Success begets success,” as McGowan puts it.

McGowan joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about the keys to Crumbl’s growth, why the brand is obsessed with its franchisees’ success, and why its laser focus on cookies is so important to elevating the concept.

In this conversation, you’ll find out why:

  • The key to franchise growth is unit economics
  • You should prioritize your existing franchisees’ success over adding more and more franchisees
  • A unique concept to the marketplace helps you score prime real estate
  • A laser focus on your core menu item can establish you as the leader in the space
  • Rapid expansion can be a good thing but only if you have the systems in place to support it

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

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