FOCUS Brands Inc., the fast-growing company responsible for overseas expansion of Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel Ice Cream, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky’s, and Seattle’s Best Coffee, has opened its 1,000th international location—a milestone capitalizing on the vast global opportunities for U.S. food brands.
The 1,000th location is a cobranded Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s store, which debuted November 29 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at The Fall of Westmall. It is operated by Cinnaworld Ltd., a franchise group consisting of a husband-and-wife team from Trinidad. Naveed Mohammed and Renee Peterson are entrepreneurs by trade and have opened a total of five Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon stores in the Trinidad and Tobago area. The duo recently expanded their territory rights to include Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia, and Grenada and have committed to opening an additional 15 locations over the next seven years. The group, Cinnaworld Ltd., also received the award for “International New Franchise Partner of the Year” for 2011 at the FOCUS Brands Worldwide Convention in January 2012.
“This opening is a landmark in our international expansion plan, which is crucial for our growth,” says Mike Shattuck,president of FOCUS Brands International. “Building our global brand presence has substantial value for us, especially when we can increase our visibility and brand presence by opening in high-traffic venues in new markets.”
In 2012, FOCUS Brands opened 205 locations in international markets, and a projected 260 will open this year. This growth comes while FOCUS Brands continues to increase its domestic footprint in the U.S. through franchise expansion of all brands.
Earlier this year, Cinnabon and Carvel became the first American brands to open in Libya, with nine additional Cinnabon bakeries and new Carvel and Moe’s Southwest Grill locations on the way. Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s recently expanded to Russia.
More than 80 new Auntie Anne’s bakeries have opened in 2012 internationally and plans call for more than 118 to open overseas in 2013 in countries such as Vietnam, Bahamas, India, and Aruba, as well as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
Cinnabon bakeries operate in more than 51 countries and will launch in Iraq, Mongolia, and Ukraine in the coming year.
“We are thrilled by the consumer response we’re seeing when our brands enter a new market,” Shattuck says. “We’re always looking for opportunities to grow with individuals who possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit and the right industry experience.”