Beautiful Brands International (BBI) is expanding its five-unit portfolio to six with the addition of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based fast-casual The Crusty Croissant.

BBI, parent company of Camille’s Sidewalk Café, FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Café, and others, entered into an agreement with the brand’s owners, Sean and Kristie Savage, to provide product development, marketing, real estate, architecture, legal, franchise sales, and other aspects of franchise development.

“We believe it’s a great opportunity to utilize our time-tested business systems to turn the success this brand has enjoyed locally into a winning formula nationwide,” BBI Founder and CEO David Rutkauskas says.

To do that Rutkauskas must buck the economic trend that has the industry in a choke hold. His strategy to achieve that: Go after ex-Wall Street dollars.

“When everyone else sees doom and gloom, I see opportunity,” he says.

“There are attractive real estate deals to be made right now and enormous potential for franchisees with people pulling money out of the stock market and looking for unique franchise opportunities to invest.”

To help his plan is the fact that bakery-café chains enjoy less-expensive start-up costs because of their smaller footprints.

“We believe risk is decreased,” he says.

But it’s not the size of the stores that really sets the brand apart from competitors. Rutkauskas says eating at The Crusty Croissant is like being “in the middle of Paris.”

“The food and presentation will show that,” he says.

–Blair Chancey

Breakfast, Desserts, Finance, News