Cinnabon Inc., a snack leader in the bakery-cafe segment, has signed a master franchise deal to develop several bakeries in Georgia, marking the brand's entry into the Eurasian country and further cementing Cinnabon as a global leader in baked goods and specialty drinks.
Under the agreement, master franchise partners, Sam Samuelyan and Stepan Panosyan of BrandCity LLC, will open seven stores in Georgia within the next six years. The partners expect to open the first location in the capital city of Tbilisi in 2014.
Although new to Georgia, the Cinnabon brand has a significant presence throughout Europe and Asia, with locations in bordering Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey. In nearby Russia, Cinnabon has opened 103 locations in four years, with plans for another 30 in the next year.
"The master franchise agreement in Georgia, a previously untapped market, represents the tremendous opportunity abroad for Cinnabon," says Mike Shattuck, president of FOCUS Brands International, which handles overseas expansion for Cinnabon, as well as Carvel Ice Cream, Moe's
Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky's Deli, and Auntie Anne's Pretzels. "We're excited to have the opportunity to work with such esteemed businessmen as Mr. Samuelyan and Mr. Panosyan and to introduce our product to the country."
Through BrandCity, master franchise partners, Samuelyan and Panosyan, of Armenia, also operate Cinnabon in Armenia, as well as a diverse portfolio of brands, including KIA Motors, Paul Bakeries, Segafredo Zanetti coffee shops, and Southern Fried Chicken.
Cinnabon has more than 1,000 locations in 55 countries. By year's end, Cinnabon projects new market launches in Morocco, Tunisia, Albania, Iraq, Mongolia, and Ukraine. Overseas expansion will remain a central growth initiative for the foreseeable future, says Shattuck, and Cinnabon is currently seeking franchise partners in North African countries, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain, France, and Germany. FOCUS Brands International expects to open more than 260 global units of all its franchise concepts throughout 2013.