Gigi’s Cupcakes has grown from a single store on Broadway near Nashville’s Music Row in 2008 to one of the most sought-after gourmet cupcake and bakery franchises. As the brand approaches 10-years of sweet success, they are looking for franchisees who want to bring the Gigi’s brand to new, exciting markets.
Gigi’s Country Roots
When Gina “Gigi” Butler moved to Nashville 24 years ago, opening a cupcake bakery never even crossed her mind. The California native had big plans to become a country music star, and made the cross-country move to fulfill her dream. Gigi spent nearly a decade cleaning houses by day and singing in Nashville’s famous honky tonks by night.
While her hopes for reaching the top of the charts never materialized, that didn’t stop Gigi from finding sweet success with another kind of major hit– cupcakes. Gigi’s brother called from New York City, while standing in line for two hours to buy a red velvet cupcake. Once he tasted the New York City bakery cupcake, he knew Gigi made a better cupcake. She had been baking on the side using family recipes for years. When he encouraged her to use her baking talents to open her own cupcake shop, her entrepreneurial drive got cooking.
With little “business experience,” Gigi was unable to find a bank willing to loan her start-up funding. So she took $100,000 in cash advances on her personal credit cards to build-out and launch her cupcake store. When the doors opened to Gigi’s Cupcakes on Broadway in February of 2008, just steps from Nashville’s legendary Music Row and the bars where she once sang, she had just $33 left to her name. And the response was delicious.
The line spread out the door and around the corner, exceeding her wildest dreams. Gigi’s Cupcakes quickly became the talk of Nashville. Within two years, Gigi’s had grown to 35 stores. In four years, that number increased to 60 stores. And now the famous cupcakes with icing piled high are a celebration across the country.
Ten Years of Cupcakes
This month, Gigi’s Cupcakes will celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Today, with the financial support of a private equity partner, a growing team at the support center headquarters in Fort Worth, a strong network of vendor relationships, and franchise locations across 24 states, the delicious journey continues with goals to open 15-20 shops in 2018.
“It is incredible to see how one small cupcake shop has grown to nearly 100 locations,” says Gigi Butler. “I am humbled by the support from our customers across the country and blown away by the expansion of this brand. The future looks very exciting for Gigi’s Cupcakes.”
Endless Flavor Options
Gigi’s rotates its menu seasonally, and its signature flavor names are delightfully creative. While the cupcake is the signature treat, with its “Gigi’s swirl” of icing piled high, Gigi’s also offers a diverse menu designed to satisfy a variety of sweet-tooth cravings, such as mini-cupcakes, personal cheesecakes and fresh-baked cookies as well as coffee and tea in many locations.
“Our seasonal favorites, including White Chocolate Raspberry and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast cupcakes, keep our guests looking forward to the changing of the seasons and the return of their favorites,” says Judy Renfrow, Gigi’s CEO. “We have a roster of rotating cupcake flavors, including gluten-friendly options, alongside our cheesecakes, cookies and cakes, giving anyone with a sweet tooth something that they can love.”
Cupcakes are a Booming Business
Americans consume 770 million cupcakes a year, and for Gigi’s customers, every day is a reason to celebrate with cupcakes.
“In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have time to bake from scratch,” says Renfrow. “They still want the celebratory feel that cakes bring, and our cupcake and bakery franchise offers the convenience, variety and individual portions that make cupcakes an easy choice. We have a stellar brand recognition that keeps our customers coming back again and again.”
Answering that demand is a growing network of Gigi’s franchisees – ranging from seasoned business professionals, to families working their business together, to professional athletes and retirees who are ready for a second act. Gigi’s Cupcakes is looking for franchisees that are just as passionate about baking and the brand as Gigi Butler herself. The organization is working to increase new stores by 20% this year, and large markets in the Southeast and Midwest are targeted for expansion.
In return, Gigi’s offers a business model that operators crave with an updated technology infrastructure, digital delivery, and a rewards program that enables repeat customers and increased revenue opportunities.
Gigi’s support center provides new franchisees assistance through every step in the franchising process, with training and support from a powerhouse leadership team. Franchisees do not need prior baking experience to make this business a sweet success.
Franchisees who are eager to learn the secret ingredient to Gigi’s success can find more information on franchising at gigiscupcakesfranchise.com.