“A lot of them have multiple locations and, if they don’t, then they want to grow to multiple locations,” she says.
Locations are typically around 800 square feet. For these units, Beard Papa’s offers design and decor packages that are clean and vibrant, thus driving guests into stores, Fazio says. While there is no real-life Beard Papa, the company’s founder, Yuji Hirota, created the Beard Papa’s character and logo to be reminiscent of Santa Claus, reminding customers of the cheerful, energetic Christmas holidays. The yellow color scheme, however, helps break the brand from seasonal constrictions.
Beard Papa’s as a brand is attractive to all kinds of guests, Fazio notes, from young people who enjoy the build-your-own model and the global dining experience to older ladies who gather for tea and pastries in the afternoon. In terms of customer experience, the guest is heavily involved since cream puffs are made to order and filled directly in front of him or her. And, unlike other dessert competitors, Beard Papa’s cream puffs can be purchased in bulk, to go. Fazio sees many customers grabbing 12-packs during her visits to U.S. stores.
While the brand has mainly focused on franchising for growth, Beard Papa’s four corporate stores are paramount in providing operator support and training, as well as product development.
To determine the best sites for locations, the team typically turns to its franchise partners first. “Honestly, the franchisee knows the demographic. They reside in that demographic,” Fazio says. Franchise partners submit a few site selections, then the Beard Papa’s team visits each, pulling demographics and traffic information and ultimately making a decision based on that data.
Even though Beard Papa’s began its U.S. business in New York, it moved its American headquarters to the West Coast in 2010. Now the team is focusing on growth in Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and Texas, the latter of which is the largest growth market today.
“My focus is to grow what I call the cluster effect,” Fazio says. Grouping stores close together not only builds brand recognition, it also boosts profits across the area. As a result, the brand has not needed to market heavily.
Next up, Fazio will be leading Beard Papa to its goal of 300 U.S. stores by 2024.