Crumbl, which has grown at a blistering pace since 2017, permanently shuttered stores for the first time last year.

The cookie shop closed seven shops in 2023—four in California, and one in Florida, Georgia, and Utah, according to its FDD. The chain also purchased a franchised unit in California to give it two company-owned locations.

Crumbl finished 2023 with 970 units nationwide, after opening a net of 184 outlets. That followed a net of 363 stores in 2022 and 184 in 2021. After a half-decade of business, the company established itself as the nation’s largest cookie concept. The chain’s 1,000th shop opened in late February in Burbank, California.

In its FDD, Crumbl projects 122 openings in 2024. That would be the brand’s lowest output since 2020, but CEO Jason McGowan told QSR last year that the company was planning a slowdown. He said the next phase will be slower to ensure Crumbl is healthy and manageable. He wanted the system to catch its breath, grab more customers, and build AUVs. Additionally, he foresaw more whitespace opportunities in international markets like Canada and the U.K.

“It’s an interesting strategy, and we think it’ll pay off,” McGowan said in 2023. “And again, we don’t think it’s going to be perfect. We think there may be a mistake on a store location or that sort of thing. But I think we got to a really good spot and I think we nailed the first phase of the strategy. So now it’s going to be a little bit more strategic on where we place locations, the timing.”

In terms of 2023 financials, 571 Crumbl locations reported average revenue of $1.16 million and average net profit of $122,955. That’s a notable decrease from 2022 when 324 units reported average revenue of $1.84 million and average net profit of $298,319. That’s a drop of 37 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Early into 2024, Crumbl has worked to secure more sales by diversifying its offerings beyond cookies, such as Cinnamon Squares, Tres Leches Cake, and Carrot Cake.

The chain hasn’t been immune to economic headwinds. Last year the company reportedly laid off dozens of workers from its headquarters in Utah. At the time, Crumbl said it underwent structural changes to its training program, realigned teams, and streamlined operations of its flagship unit in Orem, Utah. It also shut down and merged certain teams to “implement our current strategic direction.” The brand also noted that “systemwide sales are strong” and that it would continue to hire based on the aforementioned strategic direction.

Crumbl also reached a settlement last year with Dirty Dough in front of the U.S. District Court in Utah, but exact details weren’t publicized. The company filed a lawsuit in 2022 accusing Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies of trademark infringement in terms of packaging and design.

Fast Casual, Franchising, Growth, Story, Crumbl Cookies