Today we will be diving into Cinnabon. Founded in Seattle in 1985, Cinnabon is the market leader among cinnamon roll bakeries and is owned by parent Company Focus Brands. Cinnabon currently operates in almost 50 countries with over 1,500 franchised locations, primarily in high-traffic venues such as shopping malls and airports.

 

In this breakdown, we start with Cinnabon's scale and an overview of the franchise's fascinating history. We then dive into what really makes Cinnabon special - its omnichannel ecosystem and how it balances franchisees, licensing deals, and distribution through other retails while maintaining its differentiated and relevant brand. 

 

To help me break down Cinnabon, I'm joined by Kat Cole, the former COO and President of North America for Focus Brands. Before that role, she was the president of Cinnabon. Kat's operating and investing experience in this space and her deep understanding of the brand make her the perfect guest to break down Cinnabon. Please enjoy this Business Breakdown.

 

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.

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Show Notes

[00:03:04] - [First question] - The operational scale and complexity of Cinnabon

[00:05:48] - Origins and humble beginnings of Cinnabon

[00:10:07] - Diversified stakeholders involved in franchised businesses

[00:14:44] - A focus on brand relevance and differentiation

[00:19:38] - Building brick and mortar traffic during a recession and partnering with Pillsbury

[00:23:21] - Cinnabon’s ability to thrive and support an omnichannel brand ecosystem

[00:26:57] - Partnering with Burger King and fast-food market exposure

[00:32:55] - Building successfully collaborative equity buckets

[00:36:52] - Focus Brands and advantages of being part of a bigger ecosystem

[00:41:52] - Balancing licensing opportunities while maintaining core channel partners

[00:45:37] - Lessons for operators and investors we can take away from Cinnabon

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