Gigi’s Cupcakes, America’s largest gourmet cupcake and specialty baked goods franchise, is currently seeking local franchise partners to develop two new bakeries in Columbia, South Carolina. Gigi’s Cupcakes has a strong brand presence throughout the Southeast with multiple locations in Georgia and North Carolina as well as one in Greenville, South Carolina.
The local expansion is part of the 91-unit brand’s overall growth strategy to open 25 units throughout the U.S. in 2015. In Columbia, Gigi’s Cupcakes is targeting high-traffic areas in the southeast and northeast parts of the city for development of the bakeries.
“When it comes to differentiated, high-quality products that bring smiles to customers, there will always be a gap in the market,” says Gigi’s Cupcakes CEO Alan Thompson. “We’re really eager to enter Columbia with our fresh cupcakes and baked goods because we already have high brand awareness as a result of our solid footprint throughout the South and Southeast. Additionally, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Gigi’s Cupcakes right now because we were recently featured on an episode of Undercover Boss, which gave us national brand recognition, reaching more than nine million viewers.”
Franchise partners in Columbia will have the opportunity to open the brand’s new store prototype. Unveiled over the past six months in Jonesboro, Arkansas; Fargo, North Dakota; and just last month in Kansas City, Missouri; the new store prototype features significant upgrades aimed at better showcasing the brand’s diverse menu, driving sales, and improving the overall guest experience. Enhancements include new refrigerated bakery cases, electronic menu boards, and several other design elements.
“We are very encouraged with the results of these new stores thus far as they have exceeded our expectations in increased sales and return on investment. The new bakery cases allow us to better display our great cheesecakes and offer all kinds of indulgent refrigerated desserts. The new electronic menu boards are dynamic and vibrant and enable us to more effectively display our products and communicate promotional items and offsite sales opportunities like weddings, birthdays and catering events,” Thompson says.
Gigi’s Cupcakes, best known for its signature “Gigi’s swirl,” offers a variety of gourmet desserts, including 300 rotating cupcake flavors, mini cupcakes, and custom cakes, all of which are freshly baked and decorated daily at local Gigi’s Cupcakes bakeries. In recent years, Gigi’s Cupcakes has added cheesecakes, cookies, pies, bread loaves, specialty coffee, and other specialty baked treats and gluten-free items to appeal to a wide variety of customers.
The total initial investment for a Gigi’s Cupcakes is approximately $275,000 and varies based on location, square footage, and equipment package.